Potential Increased US Customs Duties on Vintage Vehicle Imports of 25 Percent - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #16 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 06:07 PM
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The macroscopic view is clearly evident: America in the immediate post-war years understood that nations damaged by the war would use tariffs as a way of shielding their recovering industries. This country was wealthy enough in the post-war years that the resulting trade imbalances, if not popular, could be understood and accommodated. Our trading partners became used to this structure, maintained it over decades, and now are "shocked-shocked" that Trump is advocating "fair-trade" relations which allow our goods to be sold in their markets at tariff rates that are similar to what we charge them for selling their goods in our market.
Thanks for that insight. I grew up in post WW2 England and I knew nothing of US aid to Europe, instead I heard that US servicemen were "overpaid, over-sexed and over here" and that the Russian sacrifice was the primary cause of the defeat of Hitler. Then the post war British government emulated the Soviets by nationalizing coal, steel, electricity, shipbuilding, the telephone service, etc. Many Brits view the US as their wealthy relative who should be happy to share.
The talk of car tariffs is clearly aimed at Merkel who is the big cahuna in the EU. The US market is a big deal for BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi and VW (did I miss any) and trump knows that if she folds then she brings the family with her.

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A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke

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post #17 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Wow I am impressed at how civilized this forum is. These are well thought out answers without one bit of vitriol. I posted it not to cause panic or even further a lawyer's business but to point out that things might be a 'changin in a big way for collector's who import cars and enthusiast's that order parts from overseas. So I have no skin in the game.

I posted it on the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) site and they took it down after some of the old guys blew gaskets and posted nasty responses to anyone that questioned the Tariff's. Or more specifically Trump. I actually learned something from the responses on this site.
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post #18 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 06:50 PM
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While some of us (ahem) are so far to the "right"---a completely inappropriate term for market capitalists, btw---that we tend to think that Attila The Hun was just a misunderstood rustic, we also have enough mutual respect for one another that we can (generally anyway) converse without tearing each other's heads off. Although I'm a full-on red-neck Trump supporter, my cursory grasp of the relationships between tariffs and market economics causes me to hope our trading partners understand that Trump's idea of "fair-trade" market places with equitable tariffs is preferable to a tit-for-tat trade war.
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post #19 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 08:18 PM
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The irony is that Trump is just trying to level the playing field.
But there has been another great financial mania going on.
As past ones blew out in the world's financial center, formerly London lately NY, they were followed by severe contractions. With unemployment so severe that each country's politicians were forced to protectionist policies.
The ones following the 1929 Bubble were bad enough. But the one the US imposed in the post-1825 Bubble was called the "Tariff of Abominations" as it was being passed.
Employment numbers are very good now. For how long?

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post #20 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 10:16 PM
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The lawyer letter is nothing more than cheap scare tactics. Unfortunately, so is the idea that tariffs are unfair in the West. Among the US, Canada, Mexico and the EU the playing field is very level; almost all trade is free or at very low tariff rates in both directions.

Every country, however, engages in protectionism on a few specific items -- usually agricultural and always political. So above a base quota, not from the first item, Canada charges very high tariffs on many dairy products. And above a base quota, not from the first item, the US charges high tariffs on some Canadian imports: sour cream - 187.8%, peanuts in shell - 163%, shelled peanuts - 131%, blended syrup - 36.9%, &c. The same thing goes on between the US and the EU. Again, in both directions, these protectionist tariffs only apply above an allowable quota. The only thing you can really count on is that there's no limiting quota for playing politics with trade.

Here's what the US government says about all this:
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Eu...Import-Tariffs

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post #21 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 06:44 AM
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Political Reform

Free trade doesn't exist within Canada on a province to province basis.
Agricultural marketing boards set prices so that the least efficient producer can make money. No competition and none is welcomed from US producers.
A couple of decades ago the retail price of eggs was 1.25, the set price was too high and a surplus built. So, the marketing board sold them into the US at 65 cents. But would not reduce the surplus by lowering the price to Canadian consumers.
Most dairy products are relatively high again due to "supply management" which is the euphemism for marketing boards.
Canada's political history is building for a massive reform of government intrusion. Other countries are waking up. Brexit in England. Italy now has a reform government. The US is leading the world with its popular reform. More accurately, it is another popular uprising. The last successful one took down the Berlin Wall and Communism. Just ordinary folk taking on a murderous police state.
I published a piece on the US reform movement called the "American Spring". That was on July Fourth, 2016.
It can be Googled under that name, but it also needs the author's name--Bob Hoye.
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post #22 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 09:47 AM
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BAH! It's not a security threat. Someone has chosen to use that word to create panic. I didn't say I was surprised.
Or chosen as a means to justify the executive branch putting tariffs in place without the lawmakers input.

I do think there's some merit to the reasoning - if we go to war and need those metals we might be hard pressed to get them from abroad, or if our trade imbalance gets too high another country can manipulate our currency.

Maybe you're not surprised, but there's a ton of people that are acting like it wasn't coming.
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post #23 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 11:17 AM
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Or chosen as a means to justify the executive branch putting tariffs in place without the lawmakers input.

I do think there's some merit to the reasoning - if we go to war and need those metals we might be hard pressed to get them from abroad, or if our trade imbalance gets too high another country can manipulate our currency.

Maybe you're not surprised, but there's a ton of people that are acting like it wasn't coming.
Fair point. Sort of. But a war on a scale that would disrupt trade patterns (that is more like WWII than Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.) would most likely involve NATO. I am not sure that pissing off your allies is the best way to increase national security.
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post #24 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 12:38 PM
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I am not sure that pissing off your allies is the best way to increase national security.
Trump's position on our NATO allies is that the principal players' back-sliding on defense spending needs to come to a halt. To put it more bluntly, the US is no longer going to be as willing to defend European states that can't/won't defend themselves as it has in the past. To complicate matters---as a European friend once reminded me---Europe was wrecked by two world wars while the US was not. In many critical ways, this distinction contributed to the socio-political differences between Europe and America in the post-war world. However, after decades of US accommodation, businessman Trump is simply saying that we---the US---cannot afford to pay the price for defending nations who fail to meet even their modest defense commitments---and who simultaneously erect trade-barriers to keep US goods out of their markets.. Germany, for instance, reportedly cannot deploy a single submarine and has fewer than 10 front-line fighters capable of immediate action.

In this country, a prevailing view is that European nations for too long have been happy to have the US guarantee their security while simultaneously erecting high tariffs designed to protect their own markets from American competition. In Trump's view (and mine for what it's worth), tariffs and defense are inextricable. We're expected to defend the world with our aircraft-carrier battle groups while our allies and trading partners expect to have freer access to our markets than they are willing to grant to us with theirs. This made sense in 1950. It makes a lot less sense now. Trade equity is good for markets while trade imbalance is bad for markets. And markets are the wellspring (or ought to be) for the ability to maintain national and international security.
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post #25 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 12:43 PM
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Fair point. Sort of. But a war on a scale that would disrupt trade patterns (that is more like WWII than Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.) would most likely involve NATO. I am not sure that pissing off your allies is the best way to increase national security.
It's all really moot as the security "concern" is simply the vehicle that Trump is using to put the tariffs in place, the real reason is the trade imbalance as @180OUT eloquently stated.
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post #26 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 01:01 PM
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We had protectionism in several forms for the car industry in Australia. Tariffs, quotas, direct grants and tax relief. You name it we tried it. Guess what, the car industry has shut down there now.

Over the last 20years or so people increasingly didn’t want to buy cars made in Australia. Even small cars, and for sure people in other countries didn’t want to buy them. Well, apart from a few middle eastern countries who liked the Australian built Camrys.

I’m not saying it’s a good thing the industry there stopped manufacturing, a lot of people lost their jobs and a lot of good expertise was lost. But first and foremost you need to supply goods or services that people want. Why do you see so many GermŠn cars on the road in US cities? Because they build product people want to buy. Same with Honda’s, Toyota’s, Hyundai etc. although they don’t sell at a premium.

To prove the point, fully 1/3 of all mustangs built these days are exported. Nearly 1/2 a million since exports again started in 2015. And it’s built in RHD. Who’d have thought.
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post #27 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 01:18 PM
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Before the US protection of Europe from Europeans, it was England.
The problem is that in every, repeat every, experiment in authoritarian government in Europe, the governing classes granted themselves the privilege of state murder.
Great Britain to protect itself had to clean up the mess.
Three times, each costing huge blood and treasure:
With Napoleon in the 1800s.
Kaiser Bill in the early 1900s.
Hitler beginning in 1939.
Now, England is being ruled by unelected European bureaucrats, in what I call "Moscow on the Maastricht". Without, yet, the privilege of state murder.
And Obama wanted the US to be more like Europe.
England is well-advised to get out. As is, now, Italy. The US should let European countries defend themselves.
'nuff.

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post #28 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 02:11 PM
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It might sound fair that trade should be balanced, but it is actually a pretty bad idea. An idea that has brought much economic misery. Granted, a country cannot run a total trade deficit indefinitely (actually only as long as the rest of the world is willing to finance it) but having a deficit for a limited amount of time or against some countries is not a problem and in general beneficial.
If the US is running a trade deficit there has to be a corresponding inflow of capital. Pesky foreigners buying US assets because the US economy is doing so well that it is better to invest in the US than at home. Or buying US treasuries to finance the government deficit so that the US tax payer doesn't have to pay for all that defense spending
One cannot exist without the other and if they don't balance the exchange rate will adjust so that they balance. For example, and somewhat simplified, if the US government borrowed less, capital inflow would decrease, the dollar depreciate and the trade deficit would be reduced.
Much of the economic growth and increase in living standards since World War II has been driven by trade and the move towards a fairly general free trade regime to to a large extent has been spear headed by the US. As pointed out by others in this tread there is actually very little in the terms of trade barriers between the US and the EU or Canada and Mexico. There are some and they are mostly ill-advised, but they exist on all sides and probably more or less equally bad.
Looking elsewhere the picture might not be so rosy. That should be dealt with separately and is not a reason to impose punitive tariffs in an attempt to force the other side to the negotiating table and try to solve a problem that doesn't exist in the first place.
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post #29 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 02:13 PM
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Data

Country comparison data on tariffs (e.g. average tariffs) can be found at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator....MRCH.WM.AR.ZS

Some other options on the page.

Just looking at tariffs tells half the story though, you'd also have to look at other subsidies, grants and incentives that governments give to businesses and farmers.

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post #30 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 02:16 PM
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The problem is that in every, repeat every, experiment in authoritarian government in Europe, the governing classes granted themselves the privilege of state murder.
F.A. Hayek, The Road To Surfdom. Not exactly light summer reading but a necessary discussion of the differences between freedom and non-freedom.
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