Frihandel i media vecka 39

Det har varit dåligt med mediaklipp om frihandel i Sverige den här veckan, så Frihandelsbloggen gör en internationell utblick.

2017-09-28

Jeffrey Dorfman skriver roligt i Forbes att flygbolagens prispolitik visar att frihandeln har stöd. Låga priser är det viktigaste av allt för den genomsnittlige konsumenten: 

”There is no such thing as a free lunch. Free trade comes with a cost and protectionism also carries a cost. Free trade gives us lower prices and thereby allows us to consume more. The cost of free trade is some disruption in the labor markets. Protectionism saves some jobs, but is paid for in job losses elsewhere plus higher prices. Thus, to believe that Americans really favor protectionism is to believe that Americans want to pay higher prices. The experience of the airline industry is proof to the contrary; Americans will put up with almost anything in exchange for lower prices.

Airlines have demonstrated, both in the U.S. and abroad, that consumers are willing to accept little food, less seating space and leg room, and severe limitations on baggage if they receive lower prices in return. Airlines now even sell ”basic” economy fares that are below even standard coach in their amenities, notably restricting the passengers to one carryon bag placed at their feet. In exchange for a slightly lower fare, these consumers have given up a chance to any overhead bin space.

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If people are willing to even give up their seat entirely for a lower-priced airline ticket, what makes us think they will pay more to protect some unknown person’s job? If tariffs are placed on imported products due to unfair competition, the effect on jobs is uncertain but price increases are guaranteed.

Protectionism saves jobs in the industry that receives protection from imports, but costs jobs in other industries that use or sell the protected product. The overall net impact is somewhat ambiguous but in many cases, more jobs are lost in the industries that sell and use the product than are saved producing it. Further jobs are lost in other industries because consumers of the now-protected products are paying higher prices and have less money left over to spend on other products.”

2017-09-27

Storbritannien får det kanske inte så lätt när de är ensamma mot en delvis protektionistisk omvärld. Att frihandelsavtalen skulle ramla in kan vara ytterligare en av Brexitförespråkarnas grundlösa spekulationer. Politico skriver om hur landet drabbas av USA:s strafftullar på Bombardier som Boeing har lobbat fram:

”It was the day the U.K. government’s dream of a “very big and exciting” free-trade deal with the U.S. ran up against the brutal reality of international trade relations.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose a punitive 219 percent tariff on the Canadian aircraftmaker Bombardier — potentially placing thousands of British jobs at risk in a Northern Irish factory that makes plane wings — was a textbook example of how a big player in global trade will often ruthlessly pursue its own interests and grind down smaller partners, even supposedly close allies.

Since the Brexit referendum, U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May have tried to rekindle the special relationship and talked up the prospects of a post-Brexit free-trade agreement.

But beneath the show of bonhomie, May’s two attempts to deter Trump from an all-out assault on Bombardier counted for little. In the end, Washington rallied behind its own champion, Boeing, which accuses Bombardier of profiting from unfair Canadian and British subsidies.

May’s political enemies were quick to claim that the Bombardier case augured badly for the U.K.’s post-Brexit prospects. Trade experts added that the case also offered a sobering foretaste of how the U.K. will struggle to hold out alone in these kinds of disputes without the big guns of the EU, the world’s biggest trade bloc, to support it.”

 

Daniel Hannan, konservativ parlamentsledamot i Storbritannien, uttrycker i tidningen The Sun en betydligt mer positiv syn på möjligheterna att få frihandel med omvärlden:

”AS Britain got ready to join the EEC in 1973, one of the biggest arguments in the build up was over whether food prices would go up.

They did — by as much as 40 per cent.

Britain was no longer free to buy on world markets — Canadian wheat, Argentine beef, New Zealand lamb.

Instead, we had to get much of what we wanted from expensive Continental producers. There have been some reforms to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy since then but, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it still adds 17 per cent to our grocery bills.

Pricey food is bad for everyone. It means we have to spend more on the basics, so have less for other things. That makes the whole economy suffer.

But it is especially bad for people on low incomes, because food bills are a higher proportion of their monthly budget.

On Tuesday, alongside Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, I’ll be launching the Institute for Free Trade, which aims to use Brexit to cut prices, boost growth and help world trade. Outside the EU, we can sign deals with Australia, China, India, the US — helping our own folk and theirs.

Until recently, it went without saying that free trade was good for ordinary people. Protectionism was seen for what it was — a way to transfer money from the poor to the rich.

Nowadays, though, free trade is often seen as exploitative.

Well-meaning youngsters protest against trade deals, imagining they are standing up for poor countries against big business.

In fact they are doing the opposite.

Nothing has done more to reduce global poverty than the spread of markets.

As recently as 1990, 38 per cent of all people lived in extreme poverty — defined as an income of a dollar a day or less.

Today that number is eight per cent, with the biggest drops in the Asian and African countries that have removed their trade barriers.

Has their rise come, as is sometimes claimed, at the expense of manufacturing jobs in richer nations?
No. Some Western countries have pushed up unemployment through wrongheaded policies, but more Brits are working than ever before.”

 


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