Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
One of my international friends sent me this link. This is more than just a blip on the global radar. The EU is serious.
The EU has increased its pressure on the US to reconsider the “Buy American” clause in the $800bn (£567bn) economic recovery package now before Congress.
The clause seeks to ensure that only US iron, steel and manufactured goods are used in projects funded by the bill.
A European Commission spokesman said it was the “worst possible signal” the Obama administration could send out.
The EU will launch a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if the clause remains, the spokesman said.
On the one hand, you could totally see why this sort of “protectionism” would be desirable, from the point of view of the American politician and also the taxpayer. Why produce a stimulus if some large percentage of the funds will go into international hands? How does that create the jobs we so desperately need in order to get the economy back on track?
On the other hand, under many of our trade agreements and international law, protectionism isn’t allowed. The whole purpose was to open the playing field in international markets.
Also, if we’re spending taxpayer money, and some European or foreign company can produce the material or good cheaper than we can, wouldn’t it be a waste of taxpayer money to not go with the competitive bid? And the actual job of building the bridge, or road, or other infrastructure will be done by new US jobs, so is the protectionism sort of moot, or at least, not so big a deal?
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