Another Protectionist Salvo


By Isaac Cohen*

Relative calm prevailed lately on the trade statements emanating from the White House. Until last week, at President Donald Trump’s signature of an executive order to investigate if steel imports are threatening national security, because the domestic arms industry dependence on foreign suppliers. National security is frequently invoked to justify protectionist measures, but thus far it has not been used against steel imports. For instance, domestic food supplies should be protected because it allegedly threatens national security to depend from foreign sources.

During the ceremony, veering off the steel issue, President Trump used the occasion to reiterate his aversion against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), calling it a “trade disaster.” However, this time Mexico was spared. The attack was against Canada, the main US trading partner, because of a dispute about Canadian dairy imports from the state of Wisconsin. According to President Trump, what Canadians have “done to our farm workers is a disgrace.”

Such are the vagaries of protectionism. A dispute about a single product, concerning 75 milk producers from a specific region, is used to question a whole trading relationship with two neighbors, which amounted in 2016 to an impressive one trillion dollars per year.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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