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What Goes Around, Comes Around

For years, protectionists in this country have tried to argue that "oh, I am really for free trade, but to be fair we must impose environmental and labor standards on our trading partners."  Well, now Europe is proposing doing exactly the same to us:

The European Commission is considering proposing a carbon dioxide tariff on imports from states failing to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, while also considering a toughening-up of the EU's own emission trading system....

The plan reflects pressure by French president Nicolas Sarkozy who argued in October that Europe should "examine the option of taxing products imported from countries that do not respect the Kyoto Protocol," referring to the 1997 international agreement on fighting climate change.

Mr Sarkozy urged Brussels to discuss the implications of "unfair competition" by firms outside the EU, which do not have to abide by strict European standards on CO2 emissions.

This letter from Don Boudreaux seems relevant:

Hillary Clinton needs a language lesson.  She favors only trade that is found by government to "benefit[] our workers and our economy" and that promotes "rising standards of living across the world" ("Full Transcript: Hillary Clinton Interview," December 3; my emphasis).  She then asserts that "There is nothing protectionist about this."

Oh please.

Protectionism exists whenever, wherever, and whyever government artificially raises its citizens' costs of buying imports.  Protectionism has forever rested on the false notion that government officials know best how consumers should spend their money.  And it attempts today to hide its ugly face behind the smiling mask of allegedly noble intentions, such as those mouthed by Sen. Clinton.

The title of his post is "The Moment Somone Must Explain that He or She Isn't a Protectionist, You Can Bank on that Person Being a Protectionist."


Posted on January 8, 2008 at 03:15 PM | Permalink


does sarkozy know that none of the EU member states are managing to come anywhere near hitting their own kyoto established targets?

do you think they will tax themselves?

or is this perhaps just a way to try to protect themselves from imports now that the dollar has fallen...?


Posted by: morganovich | Jan 8, 2008 5:39:28 PM

My guess is that the test would be whether a country has signed the treaty, not whether they are actually abiding by it. After all, what really matters is whether your intentions are good.

Posted by: BobH | Jan 9, 2008 9:12:13 AM

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