Early last week David McCormick, a lawyer from Virginia Beach, announced his candidacy for the Virginia Republican nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Jim Webb.
McCormick’s website briefly outlines his positions, two of which, albeit short and nondescript, are very troubling:
Implement tariffs on a country’s imports if the trade practices are not fair and equal. Reexamine all international trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT.
Reduce imports from China.
I would like to ask Mr. McCormick just how he defines “fair” trade. Is it “fair” that China subsidizes its exports via its monetary policy and I voluntarily choose to buy them? Should the government tell me that I am not allowed to buy these cheap Chinese goods, despite the fact that they benefit both the Chinese seller and me, the American buyer? Is it fair that millions of Americans benefit from cheaper goods because of China’s allegedly unfair trade policies?
Furthermore, if Mr. McCormick’s policies were implemented and higher tariffs were placed on Chinese (or other) imports to the US, would it then be any more “fair” that millions of Americans would have to pay higher prices for Chinese goods? Or, in the cases in which American goods then become cheaper than their Chinese alternative due to increased tariffs, would it be fair for the United States to partake in the same allegedly unfair subsidization of domestic goods as China? Should we then encourage China to increase its tariffs on and reduce imports of American goods and services because we would have unequal and unfair trade policies of our own?