Monday, May 12, 2014

CEOs urge end to tariffs

Canada should simply scrap all of its tariffs, say two economists who have prepared a report for an organization of chief executive officers.

Scrapping tariffs “would propel us forward toward a more productive and technologically advanced industrial base, raising Canada’s overall standard of living,” says he report prepared by Dan Ciuriak, former deputy chief economist for the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International trade and economist Jingliang Xiao for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

They say their proposal would give a much bigger boost to the Canadian economy than the free trade deal with Europe, South Korea and the one under negotiation as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A spokesman for the council said its recommendations have not yet been discussed by the membership and therefore are not yet council policy.

One wonders how these people garner so much power and pay. 

The focus of the report seems to be on the industrial sector and there is no mention in media reports about whether the economists took the supply-managed agriculture sector into account.

I guess economists working for chief executive officers don't know much about the Canadian agriculture and food industry. Maybe that's a good thing.

The report says there are relatively modest tariffs on 1,541 industrial inputs and getting rid of them would reduce compliance costs and improve Canadian productivity. 

The authors say holding on to tariffs as a bargaining hip in trade negotiations isn’t very effective now because Canadian tariffs are generally quite low. I guess these guys never played poker.

In another trade-related move, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to do more trade promotion.

The Chamber says the federal government needs to follow up on free-trade deals to help Canadian businesses take advantage of new export opportunities.

The late David Lewis, when he was leader of the federal NDP Party, called them Corporate Welfare Bums.