Herbert Hoover’s tariffs were a major cause of the Great Depression. You’d think that, occasionally, we might learn something from history. But not today’s Republicans. Diana Hsieh points to an article in the Telegraph:
The French government is facing calls to slap a massive import tax on Coca-Cola in retaliation for punitive American duties levelled on the salty, blue-veined, sheep cheese roquefort.
The American measures were taken as part of a trade dispute, now known as “cheese wars”, in which the Bush administration took action against the European Union’s ban on imports of US hormone-treated beef.
Last week, America imposed a 100 per cent import duty on a long list of EU products, but singled roquefort out for a 300 per cent tariff.
“Symbol versus symbol,” said Philippe Folliot, a French member of parliament whose Tarn constituency contains many roquefort producers. “Since the United States has decided to surtax one of the most ancient (cheese) appellations, I think that the French government, with the European Union, must think about a heavy specific tax on imports of Coca-Cola concentrates produced in the US.”
The correct response on tariffs is always the same, regardless of what other countries are doing: lower them. The last thing we need right now is a new round of tariff wars.