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The political economy of international trade

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Presentation on theme: "The political economy of international trade"— Presentation transcript:

1 The political economy of international trade
Dr. Adam Novotny International Business

2 Why and how do governments intervene in international trade?
To restrict imports and promote imports To protect domestic producers and jobs from foreign competition To increase the foreign market for home products To raise revenue for the government HOW? Instruments of trade policy: Tariffs Subsidies Import quotas Voluntary export restraints Local content requirements Administrative policies Antidumping duties Novotny, 2011

3 TARIFFS Tax levied on imports. Types: Who wins? Who loses?
Specific: fixed charge for each unit imported ($3/barrel of oil) Ad valorem: levied as a proportion of the value of the imported good (15% on the first 2 million tons of bananas) Who wins? Who loses? Domestic producers & government gains, but consumers (higher prices) and the „world” loses (inefficient utilization of resources) Balance depends on Amount of tariff, importance of good, number of jobs saved Novotny, 2011

4 SUBSIDIES Government payment to a domestic producer. Types:
Cash grants Low-interest loans Tax breaks Government equity participation in domestic firms Helps domestic producers to compete against foreign import and to gain export markets Helps firms to achieve dominant position: first-mover advantage! Amount: in agriculture: ~ 50% (Japan: 62%, EU: 43%, USA: 22% of farm revenues) In industry: ~ 0-2% Consequences: Inefficient farmers can stay in business Overproduction of heavily subsidized agricultural products (that could be produced more cheaply elsewhere) Reduces international trade (by 50%; world would be better of by $160 billion) Novotny, 2011

Direct restriction on the quantity of some good that may be imported into the country by issuing import licenses to a group of firms VER: quota on trade imposed by the exporting country (at the request of the importing country) E.g. Japan car producers limited their exports to the US to 1.85 million cars/year ( ) Quota rent (artificially limited supply): $ 1 billion /year  Japanese producers Because of quotas, US sugar prices were 40%, textile prices were 70 % greater than world prices Novotny, 2011

Requirement that some specific fraction of a good be produced domestically Physical terms (e.g. 75% of component parts) Value terms (75% of the value) e.g. the Buy American Act (1933): requires US government to prefer US-made products in its purchases (51% of materials by value are produced domestically) Raises the price of imported components It benefits producers not consumers Novotny, 2011

Bureaucratic rules that make it difficult for imports to enter a country E.g. Japan has low formal tariff and nontariff barriers, but!  cutting tulip bulbs vertically, opening express packages to check for pornography Consumers are denied access to possibly superior foreign products Novotny, 2011

8 ANTIDUMPING POLICIES Selling goods at foreign markets at below their cost of production, or below their „fair” market value Firms try to unload excess production in foreign markets Predatory behavior  drive indigenous competitors out of the market (then they raise price and earn profit) Domestic firms can file a petition at the government The government can impose antidumping duties (countervailing duties) on offending foreign imports Novotny, 2011

9 Political arguments for intervention
Protecting jobs and industries (from foreign competition) E.g. CAP in the EU (restrict imports, guarantee prices) VER in the US against Japanese and Taiwanese machine tools National security Defense-related industries (e.g. aerospace, semiconductors) Sematech in the US (nonprofit, performs R&D to advance chip manufacturing) Retaliation To force foreign partners to play by the rules of the game Punitive tariff is a risky business (e.g. US against China because of copyright infringements) Protecting consumers (from unsafe products) Hormone-treated animals and GM food, weapon EU’s ban on most GM food  genetic pollution Furthering foreign policy objectives Persuade „rogue states” to mend their ways, hasten a change of government E.g. US trade sanctions against Iraq, Iran, Libya, Cuba (to impoverish them) Helms-Burton Act (USA  Canada, Mexico) Protecting human rights Trade policy used as a political weapon (e.g. embargo on Syria, MFN status to China) Novotny, 2011

10 Economic arguments for intervention
Infant industry argument Alexander Hamilton (1972) potential comparative advantage of developing countries  well-established industries in developed countries Government should temporary support new industries Critics: It can help the development of inefficient industries (e.g. Brazilian automobile industry) Given efficient global capital markets, only inefficient firms would require government protection Strategic trade policy (New trade policy) First-mover advantage (e.g. Boeing) Government should support promising firms that are active in newly emerging industries (e.g. R&D grants to Boeing in s; Japan: to LCD monitors in s) To help domestic industries overcome the barriers created by foreign firms that have already reaped first-mover advantage (e.g. Airbus) By home market protection and export promotion Novotny, 2011

11 Literature Charles W.L. Hill: International Business: Competing in the Global Marketplace, Irwin/McGraw-Hill; 2007 Marios I. Katsioloudes & Spyros Hadjidakis: International Business - A Global Perspective, Elsevier - BH, 2007 Paul R. Krugman & Maurice Obstfeld: International Economic: Theory and Policy, Pearson,2003 Janet Morrison: The International Business Environment - Diversity and the global economy, PALGRAVE 2002 Robert M. Dunn, Jr., John H. Mutti: International Eonomics, 5th Ed., Routledge, 2000 Novotny, 2011

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