A few proposals and bills have been discussed recently by nations such as the U.S., Canada and the EU that call for level playing fields across several industries. Whether these are adopted or even make it to the table is another issue but their outcomes could shape the international commerce scene. At least it appears that the aloofness displayed by past U.S. governments–that crushed domestic tooling companies–is beginning to fade. For example:
* American-made media such as movies and music have consistently been forced to flow through an unregulated–almost underground–albeit state-controlled, “black market”, which filters the media and charges extraordinarily high fees. The WTO recently found this violates principles of “free trade”. Of course, China plans to appeal.
* Since China’s acceptance into the WTO in 2001, they have amassed $1.95 trillion in foreign trade reserves.
* In India, government placed a six-month ban on lead-filled “Made in China” toys in January, 2009. Several weeks ago, the Indian government placed a new ban on any and all products made of chocolate–which is an extension of their dairy ban on the Communist country. I have absolutely no problem with the steps the leaders in India took to protect its citizens, despite cries of “unfair protectionism” by China–of all people. I don’t know about you, but the thought of injesting melamine isn’t too enticing. I’ve heard that kidney stones and kidney failure aren’t that fun…let alone what it has done to pets and children.
* U.S. Carbon Tarriff has many western supporters. It basically will hold foreign nations that don’t have greenhouse policy restrictions in place accountable through a tarriff starting in 2012. Kudos to them for finally realizing how regulations make American manufacturers uncompetitive when their LCC (low-cost country) competitors do not have to spend the cost required to adhere to them. China’s response? If it passes, they will be forced to retaliate.