If you’re in the market for a bicycle to put under the tree this year, trade policy has made your choices more complicated. New tariffs on bicycles have increased prices for U.S. importers and consumers. But a higher and more generous threshold for duty-free online purchases directly from foreign retailers can be a way to escape the tariffs — but it can be a gamble.
About Christine McDaniel
Christine McDaniel a former senior economist with the White House Council of Economic Advisers and deputy assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy, is a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Entries by Christine McDaniel
Many industry observers are sounding alarms about the looming impact of automation, robots and 3D printing, which they fear will destroy jobs, disrupt value chains and maybe even reduce the need for international trade. But data and evidence don’t support the hype.
Smoother and faster customs procedures could boost global trade volumes and economic output. Blockchain is a promising technology that, if widely adopted by shippers and customs agencies, could reduce the current mounds of paperwork and costs associated with import and export licenses, cargo and shipping documents, and customs declarations.
80 percent of all global trade is transacted through third-party lenders and cargo insurers, but the process is complex, can be costly and many banks find it too risky to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Blockchain has the potential to increase transparency, speed and accuracy in assessing risk across the trade finance process, which in turn could expand the supply of credit available for SMEs.
Economists can’t tell you how tariffs impact your own business, your job or your shopping cart. Nonetheless, as tariffs are set to go higher, we look at how economists are dialing the tariffs into their forecasts about growth for the U.S. and global economy.
Blockchain technologies will play an increasing role in international trade. Using blockchain to track the origins of raw materials and follow domestic and international supply chains can help meet the increasing demand for consumer information about globally produced goods, providing more transparency and accuracy about a product’s long journey to the store.
Just hours after signing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in December last year, President Trump said, “Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well.” On the tariff side at least, while a no-USMCA scenario is bad, no NAFTA is most definitely worse.
U.S. energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KM) started construction on the Gulf Coast Express Pipeline Project in May 2018. Estimated to cost $1.75 billion, the pipeline will span 514 miles in Texas and aims to increase the United States’ ability to export liquefied natural gas to Mexico. The administration’s steep tariffs on imported steel could throw a major wrench into the pipeline project.
Studying the rise and fall of “company towns,” the lessons are clear. Place-based policies meant to resurrect declining areas are futile. Instead, leaders must not only invest in the people in their communities — they must recognize that policies to promote mobility will pay off.
The few domestic companies that may (or may not) benefit from special treatment shouldn’t outweigh the costs for the rest of the economy.