The President of the European
Commission said yesterday that economic nationalism is "absurd". Jose Manuel
Barroso’s comments came just ahead of the EU Summit, to begin in Brussels
tomorrow, and they virtually assure that protectionism will be on the agenda.
Britain, Italy and the Netherlands, meanwhile, are drafting a denunciation of
protectionism to be signed at the summit. Which is odd, considering that Italy
is leading the charge to place import duties on leather shoes from China. As
usual, it seems that free trade has many meanings to many men.
The primary focus of this
renewed attack against protectionism, it seems, is against those who would
block deals within the EU itself. See, it’s okay for Spanish firms to take over
English ones, or for Italian companies to buy French companies. But cheap
Chinese shoes? That’s a violation of the WTO.
The same syndrome applies in
the US, where it’s okay for British firms to manage US ports, but if an Arab
ally wants to take over — well, that’s outsourcing the national security!