I’ve been lamenting that the Obama administration has been bad for international trade — although they’ve recently shifted positions a bit. But the desire to find scapegoats in a tough economic time is strong, and knows no boundaries:
Six countries have banned meat and pork products from some parts of the United States in the wake of an outbreak of swine flu, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Monday.
“Restrictions on U.S. pork or pork products or any meat products from the United States resulting from the recent outbreak do not appear to be based on scientific evidence and may result in serious trade disruptions without cause,” the USTR’s office said in a statement.
Considering how you cannot get swine flu from eating pork, these bans are cheap protectionist point-scoring.
But this illustrates the damage from avoidable fights like the inane decision to end the pilot program allowing 100 Mexican trucks to drive on U.S. roads. When you indulge your own hyperbolic and irrational protectionist constituencies, it’s tougher to persuade other counties to not indulge theirs.