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Friday, November 07, 2008

China to Barack Obama: respect free trade

D.J., in your Open Letter to Obama, you encouraged president-elect Barack Obama to erect trade barriers with China:

You were the most openly protectionist party nominee in at least twenty years; you are probably worried about the backlash in international markets due to this, but your "base" is looking for an end to the free-trade/globalization policies of the last two decades. However, even many avid free-traders (such as yours truly and David Frum) include an exception for the Communist  regime. Taking trade action against Beijing will appeal to your protectionist supporters without badly inflaming everyone else. In fact, you may find support for it from unexpected areas.

Apparently you and David Frum aren't the only 'free-traders'–there's also the Chinese, who are worried about Obama's protectionist tendencies:

China said Thursday it hoped the United States would adhere to free trade under Barack Obama...

"We will continue to follow a mutually beneficial foreign policy, we believe in free trade, and we believe America also believes in free trade," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

"We hope that the policy of free trade will continue to be adhered to. We must prevent trade protectionism, which is no good for either side," he said, when asked if he thought Obama would be more protectionist.

..."We'd like to also introduce more products from the United States, especially those high-tech products," he said.

"We hope the United States can lift commercial restrictions on high-tech products. It could contribute to balanced trade between the two countries."

Read the rest.

The Chinese also defended their current currency policies, citing decreased exchange rate rigidity, but as Tim Swanson notes "while a [true] floating rate is certainly preferable" to the present yuan policy, it seems hopeful that "the disastrous Fair Currency Act promoted by Big Labor will remain shelved for perpetuity."

This really is quite an amazing role reversal: the Communists are for free trade, and the anti-Communist is for protectionism.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on November 7, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink


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The rational is quite simple and time-honored: the Communist regime is the enemy of the free world. Mr. Frum and I prefer not to trade with the enemy. I'm not surprised that the enemy would disagree.

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2008-11-07 10:16:50 AM

Several years ago I spoke with a Chinese economist who was interning with the Fraser Institute, and he told me that Milton Friedman was a household name in China. I doubted that such was / is the case with the Chinese Communist Party faithful but in terms of trade and commerce I saw no reason to doubt him.

Obama, on the other hand seems to be a Chicago thug equivalent to Jack Layton on trade and most other issues.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-11-07 10:31:04 AM

Far too much trade with China. There have been so many scares with poisonous pet food and other foodstuffs supposedly for human consumption landing on our shores. Other products as well as clothing have caused problems as well.

Walk into a store selling cheap merchandise from China, take a whiff and right away you know there's something not healthy in those products, they stink.

Simply don't trust that Commie state. We should cap all trade from there and definitely NEVER import foodstuffs.

Those making big bucks with business interests are going to disagree, including the likes of Mo Strong and Jean Chretien et al who are in love with China.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-11-07 11:14:18 AM

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