Intelligent trade policy

by Stormy

Those that have been responsible for intelligent trade policy have “other irons” in the fire, namely, representing companies that have made a fortune outsourcing to China.

From the EPIs Robert E. Scott (Senior International Economist and Director of International Programs, Economic Policy Institute) post at Huffington Post:

“An op-ed published in New York Times last week (August 23) claimed that revaluation of the Chinese yuan would “make barely a dent in America’s trade deficit.”

This ludicrous assertion flies in the face of basic economic theory and our own economic history. The U.S. trade deficit with China displaced 2.4 million U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2008 alone. Treasury Secretary Geithner should identify China as a currency manipulator, and Congress should pass legislation that would authorize the president to impose substantial tariffs on Chinese goods if they fail to substantially revalue the yuan by the end of 2010. “

The authors of the Times op-ed, Massey and Sands, “ are former U.S. trade negotiators with China…Massey and Sands have substantial business interests in China. They direct Sierra Asia, a consulting firm that “has represented more than 50 major corporations in China from the U.S., Europe, and Japan,” who are “establishing and maintaining successful operations there.”

The U.S. should insist that the yuan float freely. Additionally, the U.S. should insist that Chinese labor be allowed honestly to collectively bargain.

Free trade is simply not possible if sweatshop labor is allowed. I am constantly surprised how little economists—from the right and the left—ignore labor’s rights. One would suspect that they all yearn for the antebellum plantation when profits and efficiency were high and labor was appropriately chained. Has capital co-opted an entire discipline?

(Dan here…slight editing for readability)