On Friday President Obama announced that his administration would be imposing 35 percent tariffs on imported Chinese tires.
Both the New York Times and China’s Xinhua News agency presented this development in remarkably similar ways, noting that Obama was bending to pressure from the Steelworkers Union and that the measure would hurt the United States just as much as China. For its part, Xinhua was more colorful, using the aphorism, “sacrifice 800 to kill a thousand enemies.”
Far from being a lose-lose situation, this move by the administration actually benefits both Americans and Chinese.
The Chinese government has expressed sincere concern in recent months that the United States not default on its almost $2 trillion debt to Beijing (or use inflation to whittle away its real value).
While Xinhua faithfully reported that the tariff could eliminate as much as a billion dollars’ worth of exports to the United States, unmentioned was the fact that this also helps reduce the U.S. need to borrow from China, making it easier for future Americans to pay off the debt they already owe.
The advocates of positive, mutually beneficial U.S.-China relations should welcome the Obama administration’s move and view it as a part of a broader effort to stabilize U.S.-Chinese economic relations.
The Bush administration largely refrained from imposing tariffs on Chinese products, and over the last eight years the Chinese yuan has appreciated only very modestly against the U.S. dollar.
Furthermore, according to the World Trade Organization, as of 2008 Chinese tariffs on a range of U.S. industrial goods were substantially higher than American tariffs.
For example, Chinese and (American) tariffs on transport equipment, electrical machinery, and the category “other manufactures” were respectively 11.5 percent China (vs. 1.4 percent U.S.), 9.0 percent China (vs. 2.3 percent U.S.) and 12.2 percent China (vs. 2.3 percent U.S.) respectively.
A mismatch in tariff levels and an undervalued Chinese currency together have helped create the large debt of today.
In 2009, with the U.S. industrial economy in trouble, the Bush administration’s negotiating strategy appears to have been less than successful.
Obama’s move should be viewed as a wise attempt to encourage the Chinese to revise some of their industrial policies, which over time will make it easier for the U.S. to pay back its debt and maintain stable, positive relations with its fourth-largest export market and one of the world’s most important countries.
IU graduate student
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I have always had a special affinity for art in places where art “isn’t supposed to be.” Certainly, most of us enjoy an afternoon browsing a gallery or museum, but there is something really nice about finding art in unexpected places.
I was pleased to see Matthew Cinkoske's recent column about domestic violence at IU — "Is IU mishandling student domestic violence?" June 14, 2015.
I would like to bring to the attention of the IDS the fact that harassment of disabled students occurs regularly at IU Bloomington. I personally know of physically impaired students who have been harassed in Ballantine Hall for taking the elevator up or down one floor. And they aren’t just harassed by fellow students; faculty and staff are guilty, too. Just because someone looks healthy, doesn’t mean that they are. Invisible disabilities are any of a number of chronic conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living while showing no outward signs of the illness. I also know of a physically impaired student who was made fun of recently for riding a scooter in Forest Residence Center. This is a student who can barely walk—and only for short distances—and only when feeling physically up to it. This same student was also harassed in the Forest parking lot by someone who didn’t think a handicap parking space should be used by a disabled student, even though the appropriate IU parking permit was displayed in the car. Harassment may be reported to the IU Incident Teams at (812) 855-8188 or email@example.com. I mention these incidents because they happened to students I know. And if they can happen to them, they can happen to anyone. I ask the entire campus community: How would you feel if someone you cared about was ridiculed or harassed because they had a disability? How does it feel to learn that members of the campus community, whether you know them or not, have to deal with harassment at IU Bloomington on a daily basis? I urge us all to think before speaking, show some Hoosier compassion, and offer to help instead of contributing to an intolerant environment. I also urge the IDS to investigate and report on the harassment of disabled students on this campus. As an IU alumna, IU employee, and IU parent, I hate to think of Indiana University’s reputation being tarnished by charges of harassment of any kind. Melissa Thorne Bloomington