August 16, 2007
Right on Brothers!
Sue the bastard!
He has fought with China over bras, shoes and candles. Now Peter Mandelson, the European Union trade commissioner, is facing a battle over imports of ironing boards.
Huahe Hardware, an exporter of ironing boards, has filed a lawsuit against the EU over anti-dumping tariffs, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
It would really be quite glorious to see this go all the way. The figures used in such anti-dumping cases are almost always fictitious: whatever the local trade association comes up with plus a bit for luck. Getting such numbers into court could prove highly embarrassing for the Complete Tit and his minions.
While we all know what realy ought to be done (you mean you're subsidizing our consumption of your production? Why, thank you!) even within their own nonsenses of rules, whereby they have to show that damage is being done to the EU economy before such duties can be imposed, they don't actually manage to make the numbers add up. So it'll be, as above, quite joyous to see some lawyers crawling all over them.
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The calibre of the rationale put up to justify anti-dumping measures often goes along lines like this:
But ironing boards are a strategic necessity. Consider what would happen in a time of another war - the troops would have to go into battle without their kit ironed.
With only slight exaggeration, something along those or similar lines is devised because it's often difficult to show, as required by WTO prescriptive rules on anti-dumping measures, that the alleged dumping is actually inflicting "economic damage" on the industry of the "injured" country or customs union.
The mind boggles at the prospect of trying to explain in the event of a WTO disputes procedure precisely what damage is being inflicted on the EU's otherwise vibrant ironing board industry.
In practice, of course, these measures usually surface when some lobby group or industry trade association starts raising a bit of a fuss and some gullible or protectionist-minded EU government responds by pressurising the Commission. I recall the time in the early 1990s when the EU wanted to impose anti-dumping measures on imports of floppy disks for computers when there were just one or two manufacturers of floppy disks in the EU at the time.
On the EU political context, see this illuminating paper of 2004:
"The politicisation of EU Anti-dumping Policy" (PDF file) by Simon Evenett and Edwin Vermulst
As Table 5 shows, historically Britain has tended to oppose anti-dumping measures by the EU more often than all or almost all other EU countries.
Posted by: Bob B | Aug 16, 2007 10:49:49 AM
Are you against anti-trust laws in principle or only their fictitious use?
Tim adds: Eh? Anti-trust?
But since you ask, yes, I'm quite happy that there are laws against the construction of artificial monopolies. Perhaps not these laws though, nor the way they are used.
Posted by: windowlicker | Aug 16, 2007 1:55:27 PM