Skip to comments.US plans tariff-free world
Posted on 11/26/2002 6:21:19 AM PST by nypokerface
The US government is expected to announce bold new proposals to expand free trade later on Tuesday. The plan would lead to the elimination of all tariffs on industrial and consumer goods by 2015 in an attempt to jump-start global trade talks.
"A world of no trade and tariff barriers is the north star," Paul O'Neill, the US Treasury Secretary told business leaders in the UK, ahead of the official announcement.
Mr O'Neill said that world economic output would increase by $2 trillion (£1,3,00bn) if all trade barriers were removed.
"There's a very important reason to do it, the whole world will be better for it," he said.
The proposals will be put to the members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) who are in the midst of talks aimed at lowering global trade barriers.
These talks, launched in Doha in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar one year ago, have stalled amid increasing signs of trade tension between the US and the rest of the world.
The US has imposed high tariffs on imported steel and passed legislation increasing subsidies to its farmers - both of which have angered developing countries.
Many analysts think the new proposal is designed to recapture the moral high ground, after a year in which the US commitment to free trade has come under question.
However, some developing countries may have difficulties with the plans, especially in relation to their manufacturing sector.
Developing countries tend to have higher tariffs on manufacturing goods, so it will be easier for the US to meet the proposals than for poorer countries.
And the timing and speed of the cuts could pose a threat to the so-called "infant industries" in countries like Brazil and India, which have flourished behind tariff barriers.
The Brazilian car market, for example, would be thrown open to international competition.
But the US will vow to cut its high tariffs on textiles and clothing, an area of particular concern for developing countries.
Recently US manufacturers have begun lobbying for further restrictions on the import of clothing from China, despite the formal expiry of all quotas and tariffs on textile and clothing on 1 January 2005.
Poorer countries are also pressing for access to rich country markets for their agricultural products, but these are not included in the proposals.
The US, however, has already proposed the elimination of agricultural subsidies - a proposal certain to be opposed by the European Union and Japan.
According to press reports, the plan will include a reduction of high tariffs on non-agricultural products to a ceiling of 8% by 2010.
These would then be progressively cut to zero by 2015.
Existing tariffs of less than 5% would also be eliminated by no later than 2010.
And a parallel scheme to cut tariffs in many industrial sectors - such as chemicals, paper, wood and construction equipment - would also be tabled.
The plan parallels some of the US approaches to regional trade liberalisation.
For example, in negotiations with the Pacific Basin countries in Apec, the US hoped for the gradual elimination of all industrial trade barriers by 2015, with an earlier target for industrial countries.
Smaller developing countries may argue a delay in the full implementation of the proposals, just as they have already asked for the provisions of the trade agreement regarding intellectual property to be postponed.
Experts say the proposals are the boldest ever put out in the fifty year history of the post-war trading system.
They come at a time when the world trading system is under unprecedented strain - and when world trade is failing to grow for the first time in a generation.
The new boss of the World Trade Organisation has recently warned that the global trade talks may be running out of steam.
And there have been fears that the global talks would be supplanted by a series of regional and bilateral free trade deals.
The US has been pursuing regional and bilateral trade agreements in the past months, while China and Japan have both been making bilateral deals with other Asian countries.
The US has also been pushing its plans for a Free Trade Areas of the Americas, which would encompass all the countries from Alaska to Chile.
When did Alaska secede?
Once the economic boundaries are torn down, the political boundaries will be next, just as we are seeing now with the EU and NAFTA.
As a third gen descendant of a farming family, I can tell you that small family farms may dwindle, but American Agriculture will not, and has not. My grandfather's farm is now leased to my cousins which farm 100x the acreage with larger more efficient machinery. Big deal.
It was nice to grow up around a family farm...but it was wholly inefficient and unreliable. One bad crop several times sent him out of business and back into carpentering because his risk was so high and his efficiency was so low...but I didn't know that when I was 5.
Do you really expect anyone to take such a statement seriously coming from someone with your screen name!! LOL!!
I have been screamed at many times on this board because it's a CONSERVATIVE forum! If you don't like FREE TRADE the go to DU where you belong!!!
HA. I always wanted to say that.... :-/
This talks about changes to a goal over 15 years, so why wouldn't some adjustment back and forth be expected to get to the transition?
If a car is coming at you across the dividing line, do you turn your car left or right to miss it, or do you stubbornly keep the steering wheel straight just to prove you're right?
odd turn of phrase....Masonic?
2 TRILLION? Yeah right, I guess that means we get more crap from China and continue to lose jobs in the U.S.
Oh he's serious! REAL serious in fact! Just imagine a FREE marketplace out there in which U. S made products (now free of the overburden of the Income Tax System because we will then have a CONSUMPTION based system) can compete fairly!
Mr. O'Neil is looking at the BIG picture and I applaude him for it! He's EXACTLY right on the mark!!
Wait a minute. DU types tend to like one world government and open borders, yes? So they are ahead of Bush on tariff-issue.
Conservatives by definition are those who want to preserve and protect the existing nations and borders. Globalism and free market fundamentalism are anti-conservative.
Actually I think it would be a MUCH larger number than that but you HAVE to see the WHOLE picture envisioned here!
1. No artificial trade barriers in the world and:
2: The U. S. has a CONSUMPTION based tax system rather than the communist inspired Income Tax system.
What do you REALLY think would happen to the U. S. economy if those two things came to fruition?
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