Monday, 13 August 2007

Safety First - Not Covert Protectionism

Sadly it seems that there have been a significant number of safety scandals involving Chinese products. This one has claimed the life of a factory boss in Guangdong Province.

Clearly it is vitally important that consumers are protected from dangerous products. However, there is a fine line between consumer safety and covert protectionism. In China's case, yes, they need to strengthen safety standards but this should not become a cover for some of the protectionist attitudes emerging in the US and parts of the EU. The benefits of free trade have long been shown to outweigh the costs and furthermore, nations that trade work harder to get along harmoniously.

Harming China's businesses (unless, of course, they are involved in wrongdoing) for the sake of it will create a seige mentality which will undermine political liberalisation.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

Cafe Hayek has a good post on this.

The market is responding faster to problems than regulation. All without invoking any protectionism.