Even after leading economists have warned of the dangers of protectionist policies, members of Congress are asking Obama to force Americans to pay more for goods that can be purchased more cheaply abroad. Senator Lincoln (D-AR) and other Senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to rule in favor of the United Steelworkers and put tariffs or quotas on $1.7 billion of Chinese automobile tires, which are currently $3 to $74 cheaper than American tires. Senator Lincoln argued that enacting tariffs or quotas would be “an important step in regaining the public’s confidence in trade liberalization.” How does any protectionist measure produce results in trade liberalization?
The United Steelworkers filed a petition with the International Trade Court in April, requesting importation of Chinese manufactured tires be capped by nearly half, since American tire manufacturers can’t compete with their cheaper prices. President Obama has until September to make a decision on whether he’ll break his promise to the Group of 20 summit to not pursue protectionist policies.