Free Trade For Me But Not For China (EU Edition)


From CNN:

European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on Tuesday urged EU member states to back a plan to release millions of euros' worth of Chinese-made garments stuck in European ports, warning that a failure to do so could lead to economic hardship….

European customs officials impounded 75 million tons of Chinese-made bras, sweaters, trousers and other goods after Chinese exporters quickly exceeded the limits of a new quota system agreed in Shanghai in June.

Whole thing here.

A few days back, the Cato Institute's Marian Tupy pointed me to the following excoriation of the EU's trade protectionism by the Globalization Institute's Alex Singleton. Singleton notes that Mandelson himself agreed to the quotas back in June, after many of the impounded goods had already been ordered. That backtracking is symptomatic of a larger hypocrisy:

The EU's stance is perverse and immoral and will hit the weakest and poorest hardest, both in Europe and in China; it shows that Brussels' supposed commitment to economic development and solving world poverty is utterly worthless. In theory, since 1 January, the world has enjoyed free trade in textiles, a welcome development. But the EU is still allowed to impose anti-Chinese quotas until the end of 2008 as part of the Textile Specific Safeguard Clause which China agreed to as part of its ascension to the World Trade Organisation.

Whole thing here.

Earlier this year, Reason's Kerry Howley took on American protectionism re: Chinese textiles. That's online here.