Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Quick Hits

A few things to note on a slow news day here in the nation's snow-covered capital:
  • Vietnam has filed its first ever WTO dispute settlement challenge - against the United States' practice of "zeroing" in anti-dumping administrative reviews of Vietnamese shrimp imports.  The complaint is available on the WTO's website here.  I've discussed the practice of zeroing several times, most notably the United States' new strategy of "settling" certain WTO complaints against US zeroing.  Those cases, however, dealt with original investigations, not reviews, where the US appears to still be fighting tooth-and-nail at the WTO.  Indeed, the EU just asked the WTO to let it impose over $400 million in retaliatory tariffs on US exports due to the United States' refusal to comply with adverse WTO rulings against US zeroing in administrative reviews.  (So much for that grand plan to expand US exports, huh?)  Given the varying US responses to zeroing cases, the new Vietnam complaint - and the new-ish one by South Korea on zeroing in original investigations - will be worth watching.  (Oh, and yes, it's completely absurd that the US still hasn't given in on zeroing.)
  • Free traders in Congress (all two of them!) have reintroduced the "Affordable Footwear Act" (H.R. 4316 ) which would mandate the unilateral elimination of abnormally high US tariffs on imports of low-cost shoes that aren't even made in America anymore.  The bill highlights a great example of the idiocy and immorality of US tariffs and is a good first step to remedying such nonsense.  Of course, the fact that legislation scrapping a pointless tax on a basic necessity that disproportionately harms poor Americans can't pass with overwhelming bipartisan support is a sad commentary on the state of US trade policy, wouldn't you say?
  • China announced the preliminary results of its anti-dumping investigation against US imports of chicken.  Duties ranged from 43.1% to 105.4%, and a final determination isn't expected for several months.  Preliminary results of China's countervailing duty investigation against the same US product will be out in the next couple months.  And, yes, we all remember how this investigation came about - *cough*tires*cough*.  (Nice WSJ editorial on this whole mess here.)
  • Finally, we have some China trade news that all Americans - protectionists and free traders alike - can support: American "shoot-first" point guard, and troubled NBA castoff, Stephon Marbury has been shipped off to China.  He's running point for the Shanxi Brave Dragons, and is already one of the Chinese Basketball Association's biggest stars.  Noted Knicks fan and China antagonist Sen. Chuck Schumer has thus far been unavailable for comment.
That's all for today.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go prep for the next blizzard that will be hitting DC tomorrow.

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