Sunday, July 03, 2011

Happy 4th, Happy Canada Day, Etc.

It's a long weekend here. I am catching up on e-mail and news. Here are a couple interesting things.

Australian Customs and Border Protection foils a plot to smuggle reptiles in teddy bears.
More smuggling in teddy bears; this time it's cash.
Detroit area boater finds Czech national swimming to US.
UPS package contained nearly $1 million in allegedly counterfeit watches.

Here is Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune dissing Trade Adjustment Assistance. The point I think he missed is that the difference between someone in Pennsylvania losing a job to someone in Texas and the same worker losing a job to Brazil is that no affirmative change in policy by the federal government helped the job move to Texas. Since the U.S. government entered into a trade agreement that ultimately cost that American a job, it seems only decent to provide some benefits to help the worker adjust.

Chapman also forgets that tariffs are only one variable in a complex decision on where to locate production facilities. It is true that most countries and most goods already have low duty access to the U.S. market. But, an FTA removes additional barriers to trade including creating protections for investors, improved intellectual property protection, more transparent customs practices, etc. The trick for policy makers in the U.S. is to be sure that our trading partners do not enhance their cost advantages by lower labor and environmental standards or failing to enforce their laws. That is the race to the bottom, which the U.S. should not facilitate.

1 comment:

John said...

An importer that is not in ISA but behaves as if it were would undertake annual (or more often) risk assessments. Those reports, however, if done at the direction of counsel, would be privileged against disclosure to Customs. Further, the company could decide what to disclose to Customs.