New Tariff Wars?

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.

One thought on “New Tariff Wars?”

  1. Wasn’t the US given the green light by the WTO to do these in response to the EU’s ban on the beef? So if the French add some tariff in response to avalid WTO one won’t they get hit all the more?

    And is there actually any CocaCola concentrate imported from the US into France?

    No matter the specifics it’s hard to see how either side ends up better off in all of this.

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