Friday, April 16, 2004

To Them That Have ...

Also from Marginal Revolution (which I really ought to read more religiously), this time by Tyler Cowen, a statistical tidbit that highlights the egregiously unfair tariff regime rich countries submit poor countries to. What they give with one hand as foreign aid, they more than take with the other through protectionism.

In 2001, the United States collected more in import duties from Bangladesh than it did from France, despite importing 12 times as much from France.

I'm pretty sure that those Bangladeshi duties mostly represent taxes on textile imports, which indicates that the figure above is actually a substantial understatement of just how much America stacks the decks against that country's goods; far more important are textile quotas, which don't show up in any assessment of tariff structure. We berate poor countries for not getting their acts together and for sending us their people in large quantities, yet when they do manage to get together in some field or other, all it takes is a little whining from parasitical "businessmen" and we shut the door against their goods. Bush's record in this area has been shameful, and Kerry's promises to be no better.