Josh Hawley, Harding and Hoover — Trade & Back to the Future — Not a Good Idea.

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Recent opinion piece by Josh Hawley. My take. He’s one of the most protectionist and trade xenophobic today. He make former U.S. presidents Harding and Hoover look mighty good. Here are some of his views as contained in today’s New York Times piece:

….We liberalized and expanded trade relations with China under the delusion that it could be influenced into becoming a peace-loving democracy. We ceded more and more of our national sovereignty to multinational organizations like the World Trade Organization, and supported China’s membership to that body.

…. We need to fundamentally restructure our country’s trade policy and decouple our security and safety from the profit-seeking of multinational corporations. 

… Under this plan, officials at the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense will identify goods and inputs they determine to be critical for our national security and essential for the protection of our industrial base. These goods would then become subject to a new local content requirement: If companies want access to the American market for these critical and essential goods, then over 50 percent of the value of those goods they sell in America must be made in America. Companies will have three years to comply, and can receive targeted, temporary waivers if they need more time to reshore production. In effect, the legislation applies the domestic sourcing principles of the Buy American Act — a law that governs federal government procurement — to the entire commercial market.

… When it comes to our most critical goods, this “majority-made” standard is just common sense and harder to game than more complicated rules. And the requirements of this standard will be enforced with a compliance mechanism that closely mirrors one of the nation’s oldest trade remedy regimes: anti-dumping. Under my proposal, domestic producers can petition the U.S. International Trade Commission if they suspect that corporations or importers have violated the local content requirement, and the secretary of commerce can take enforcement actions such as civil penalties following an investigation to ensure the new standards are met.

….I’ve previously called for the abolishment of the World Trade Organization to ensure that the United States can safeguard its economic sovereignty. Regardless of how this proposal affects existing trade agreements. 

….Local content requirements can help reverse our dependence on foreign nations both by discouraging multinational corporations from relying on fragile global supply chains, and also encouraging them instead to build productive capacity in the United States. 

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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