15 September 2009

Tire tariffs and Chinese WTO suit

I'm not attempting to be contrarian, but I see one major shining silver lining in this whole tire tariff thing. I'm not a fan of tariffs, and I haven't seen a single reason why the US is imposing this tariff.

However, China is responding, not with blistering denunciations and unilateral reprisal, but by instead taking us to court in the WTO.

This is a great thing. In the past, Chinese leaders has often acted like the US was betraying China by taking them to the WTO for trade disputes. This means that China may be instead internalizing the rules of the international order. It can be hoped that, if Chinese leaders are willing to act within the rules on trade, they may also do so in other fields. At the very least, it gives the China optimists more to go by.

Of course, the one thing no one wants is a return to "beggar-thy-neighbor"ism and (from what I can tell) I hope China succeeds in getting the tarriff overturned. In fact, getting the tariff overturned will help strengthen China's faith in the WTO. I think that will be a bigger win than whatever mixed effects the actual tariff will have.

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