History of US Tariffs

Today, the United States seems to be going back to a protectionist policy that was in place for 250 years from 1789, through to the end of World War II. The average tariff during that period on goods entering the US was 38%. However, the US didn’t do this to punish countries or control the influx of products. The main reason the US charged tariffs is because they did not introduce income tax until 1917, and relied on Tariffs to finance its activities including war. At the end of WW II, most of America’s competitors’ (England, Europe, Japan, Korea, China) industrial base had been wiped out by the war. America believed it had a significant competitive advantage and wanted to export goods and services to rebuild these economies on a “tariff free basis”. The US did not fear competitive imports from these war-ravaged countries and signed on to GATT in 1947. (more…)

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A History of the World Trade Organizations

After World War II in 1945, “The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” (GATT), was established along with other institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. GATT was the governing body for trade around the world until 1995 when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established replacing GATT.

The WTO is an intergovernmental organization that regulates international trade. In 1995, 124 nations signed the agreement. It is the largest international economic organization in the world. The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and most important, providing a “dispute resolution process” aimed at enforcing members’ adherence to WTO agreements.

Each country, through a series of WTO negotiations, sets their individual tariffs on various goods and services using a common HS code (Harmonized Item Description and Coding System). Through WTO negotiations, country tariffs are continuing to be reduced and eliminated. For example, the average Tariff for goods entering the US is 2.5%.

In addition to participating in WTO negotiations, each country may also negotiate and sign separate trade agreements under the general guidelines of the WTO. For example, Canada, the US and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1997. In 2017, Europe and Canada signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). These agreements are designed to reduce and then eliminate all Tariffs between the participating countries. However, they use the WTO guidelines as a basis for their agreement, including dispute settlement mechanisms which are usually referred back to the WTO dispute system. WHO’s decision is final on participating WTO members but may also be appealed which can take many years to render a final decision.

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From Humble Iron to Modern Wear Resistant Composite: Origins of Steel Making

While steel is generally considered to be a symbol of modern times, these remarkable modern composites that are available to us today are the result of over 6,000 years of progress and development.

A Gift from the Gods (Pre-Historic Iron)

Though iron—the primary metal in steel composite—is usually associated with the later ages of mankind, archaeologists have found that metallurgists have been working with iron as early as 4000 B.C.—hundreds of years before the start of the Bronze Age—using iron from meteorites to make weapons, ornaments and tools. This iron was known as the “Gift from the Gods”, and even into the Iron Age, meteorite iron was prized.


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