Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Few politicians so far are calling for protectionism.
Among economic and diplomatic policy-makers, openly advocating protectionism is about as socially acceptable as promoting child pornography.
So how to explain the slew of tariff hikes, export subsidies, non-tariff barriers, stimulus packages and bailouts — highlighted in a report at the World Trade Organisation – which all have the effect of slowing imports, boosting exports and generally promoting jobs at home at the expense of competitors?
The answer: they are not protectionist. Everybody says so.
New subsidies for French carmakers? Not a whiff of protectionism, says French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde. It’s all about research and development.
Export subsidies resumed for EU dairy produce? Not protectionism, says EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton. It’s just a technical measure triggered by market prices.
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Monday that the Fund could cut its forecast for China’s economic growth in 2009 to around 5 percent. To think that only last year China was galloping at a double-digit clip. It’s staggering, and it’s worrying.
Worrying, for one thing, because - as the Heritage Foundation’s Derek Scissors puts it - ”the American economic slump is running into the Chinese economic slump, creating the conditions for a face-off between Beijing and the U.S. Congress, possibly leading to destabilization of the world’s most important bilateral economic relationship”.