Friday, December 3, 2010

DOC's Trade Law Enforcement Initiative Could Lead To College Football Playoffs

On November 23, 2010, DOC announced the Trade Law Enforcement Initiative (TLEI) in support of President Obama's call for a college football playoff system.  I bet you never thought about the link between US trade remedy laws and college football.  Honestly, I didn't either until I heard this week that Texas Christian University (TCU) is joining the Big East.  For those of you that don't follow college athletics, the Big East is a sports conference that traditionally included college basketball powerhouses located on/near the East Coast - hence the name Big East.  For the geographically challenged, TCU is located in Fort Worth, Texas approximately 1,500 miles from the East Coast.  It makes about as much sense for TCU to be in a conference called the Big East as it does to say that exports will increase if laws targeting unfairly traded imports are strengthened.  But I digress. 

The link between trade remedies and college football is simple.  Stronger trade remedy laws will help US industries improve their performance, which will mean their management and employees will have more cash to support their almae matres alma maters.  Colleges will then have more resources to give to their football programs, which in turn will lead to greater parity, and thus more pressure for a playoff system so more schools can compete, on the field, for a national championship.  Makes perfect sense, right?

I'm kidding of course.  What DOC actually said is that it is launching the TLEI in support of the President's National Export Initiative (NEI) to double US exports over the next five years.  The "rationale" is that implementing a package of policy and regulatory changes to improve the administration of laws meant to offset the injurious effect of unfairly traded imports will help US exports.  Hmm.  How exactly does that work?  As far as I can tell there is no correlation between the TLEI package and NEI.  The TLEI may strengthen the administration of US trade remedy laws, which would be a good thing for the domestic industries that are injured or threatened with injury by unfairly traded imports.  However, it is extremely doubtful that that will lead to increased US exports.  The more likely outcome is increased trade friction with our trading partners and higher costs (even if justifiably so to level the playing field) for US companies that use imports subject to trade remedies as inputs.  Neither of which should result in more exports.  I just don't see the connection between the TLEI and NEI. 

Speaking of college football, congratulations to the the University of Maryland's head coach (Ralph Friedgen) and starting quarterback (Danny O'Brien) on wining ACC Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year.  Fear the Turtle!!!

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