Cutting Chinese Imports Punishes U.S. buyers

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s opinion column (October 6, 2022) falls into the trade deficit trap that many others do: exports good, imports bad. When he talks about cutting imports from China, who does he think will be hurt? Doesn’t he realize that economically strapped consumers will have fewer choices and pay higher prices?  Doesn’t he know that 47.5 percent of total U.S. imports from China are electrical machinery and power generation equipment? U.S. manufacturers needing those inputs could face supply shortages and higher prices – making them less competitive in world markets.

Mr. Rohrabacher’s own state of California might suffer if the U.S. adopts protectionist policies and China retaliates. In 2010, China was California’s third largest export market, with exports to China totaling $12.4 billion, a significant increase from the year before.  Why potentially penalize California and jobs in Mr. Rohrabacher’s state with misguided anti-China policies?

No one is saying that China doesn’t need to change its currency practices and deal with human rights issues.  But policymakers should think twice before resorting to protectionist policies that are likely to worsen our economic future.