The T words: Trade, Tariffs, Trump

The mainstream media in New Zealand presents the argument that New Zealand and the other countries involved in TPP negotiations over tariff-free trade/the best ways to increase corporate profits, represent the progressive way of the future. US President Donald Trump, in deciding to reintroduce tariffs, is going backwards.

Tariffs are an affront to neoliberalism and as such cannot be condoned by mainstream economists. All the more reason, even though it is Donald Trump who has raised the issue, we should go there. We should have the conversation we should have had in 1984 when our politicians decided, unilaterally, that tariff-free trade was the answer to the universe. Or at the least the question of why New Zealand couldn’t sell mutton to countries that already had their own sheep? Continue reading

Who Benefits Most From TPPA Tariff Reductions?

Tariffs exist to protect local enterprises from perceived unfair competition from overseas competitors. Tariffs are a two-edged sword. Tariffs may mean less access to markets for exporters, higher prices, and less choice for consumers, but they also may mean better quality goods and more jobs for locals, with better pay and working conditions.

The Transpacific Partnership views all tariffs as bad. The TPPA encourages signatory countries to do away with tariffs. For our government it has been one of the agreement’s biggest selling points. New Zealand jumped the gun and did away with most of our tariffs in the 1980s and 90s. Most other countries did not follow suit. Continue reading