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OpenMarket: Trade and International

  • Common Myths and Facts about Trade

    September 20, 2018

    There are a lot of confusions on both sides of the trade debate. A short CEI WebMemo, published today, seeks to clear up three of them. Here’s the gist: Trade barriers cause short-term job losses but have little long-term employment impact. Higher trade barriers do not improve other countries’ behavior. Finally, lowering trade barriers benefits a country’s economy, regardless of what other countries do.

  • New China Tariffs Coming Soon

    September 17, 2018

    Less than a week after signing a bill to reduce some tariffs, the administration is moving to raise others. As soon as today, the Trump administration is expected to announce ten percent tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese goods. They could take effect in as soon as a few weeks, in time for the holiday shopping season. The administration is also reserving the right to adjust the rate upwards to 25 percent in the future. They did not specific the likelihood, criteria, or timetable for such an increase, which is upsetting to longterm investors.

  • Three States Join California in Raising Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Costs

    September 14, 2018

    Maryland, New York, and Connecticut are following California’s lead in proposing restrictions on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the class of refrigerants widely used in home and car air conditioners as well as the refrigeration equipment in millions of small businesses like restaurants and convenience stores. State legislators and governors are doing so on the grounds that HFCs contribute to global warming. 

  • President Trump Signs Miscellaneous Tariff Act

    September 14, 2018

    In a surprise move, President Trump signed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act into law on Thursday. The bill will reduce tariffs on roughly 1,700 goods worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This is good news, though the bill isn’t quite as good as it sounds. 

  • Free Trade Challenges: Tariffs, Concentrated Benefits, and Diffused Costs

    September 11, 2018

    Tariffs hurt more people than they help. So why do those outnumbered few keep winning so many political victories at the majority’s expense? The answer can be found in the concept of concentrated benefits and diffused costs. Gordon Tullock gives an example of this with his Tullock Economic Development Plan, which “involves placing a dollar of additional tax on each income tax form in the United States and paying the resulting funds to Tullock, whose economy would develop rapidly.”

  • August Brought 201,000 New Jobs, but Future Gains Threatened by Trade Restrictions

    September 7, 2018

    The U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs in August, the U.S. Labor Department announced today. Good news, but impending trade restrictions could put a damper on those gains, Competitive Enterprise Institute analysts warn.

  • Tariffs Invite Corruption

    September 6, 2018

    The Commerce Department is offering exemptions to President Trump’s recent steel and aluminum tariffs. More than 2,000 companies have applied. That means that there are Commerce Department employees with the power to decide, in some cases, whether a company can continue to exist. Even if there is no existential threat to a company, a bureaucrat’s discretion could decide whether or not a company will be able to retain all of its workers, keep prices low, make a profit or a loss, or remain competitive at home and abroad.

  • U.S. Should Re-engage with World Trade Organization for Everyone's Sake

    September 5, 2018

    Last week, President Trump threatened to pull out of the World Trade Organization, which he called “the single worst trade deal ever made.” 

  • Will New NAFTA Be More Protectionist or Less?

    August 31, 2018

    This week has seen some swift movement in the talks surrounding the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On Monday, the President held a join phone press conference with the President of Mexico announcing agreement on a new U.S.-Mexico Free Trade Agreement. While President Trump seemed satisfied to leave it at that, with the possibility of Canada joining, President Pena Nieto stressed that he regarded it as essential for Canada to join to make it a new NAFTA.

  • Trade Is as Old as Humanity

    August 31, 2018

    Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of long-distance trade going as far back as 200,000 years ago. The artifacts are mainly things such as obsidian tools that are relatively imprevious to the ravages of time. In fact, such finds can determine economic health through history. After the fall of the Roman Empire, long-distance artifacts such as foreign coins, papyrus, and oil lamps suddenly disappear from Europe’s archaeological sites. We call this low-trade period the Dark Ages.


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