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Economic vandalism

(2009-09-18 22:07:08)
标签:

杂谈

分类: Translation
 

Sep 17th 2009
From The Economist print edition

A protectionist move that is bad politics, bad economics, bad diplomacy and hurts America. Did we miss anything?
保护主义运动对政治、经济和外交都会产生不良影响,并且会危害美国。除此以外,我们是否漏掉了什么?

自由贸易 YOU can be fairly sure that when a government slips an announcement out at nine o’clock on a Friday night, it is not proud of what it is doing. That is one of the only things that makes sense about Barack Obama’s decision to break a commitment he, along with other G20 leaders, reaffirmed last April: to avoid protectionist measures at a time of great economic peril. In every other way the president’s decision to slap a 35% tariff on imported Chinese tyres looks like a colossal blunder, confirming his critics’ worst fears about the president’s inability to stand up to his party’s special interests and stick to the centre ground he promised to occupy in office.
毋庸置疑,一个政府在周五晚上9点钟偷偷宣布一个声明,那一定不是什么值得骄傲的事情。这也是唯一能够说通巴拉克·奥巴马与其他20国领导人决定违背承诺的行为。让我们回顾下去年四月的承诺:在经济萧条期避免采取保护主义措施。从总统决定的任何一方面考虑,35%的中国进口轮胎关税都像是一个严重的错误,这也证明了评论家们对他的评价,他本人十分担心自己无法面对民主党的特殊利益,以及无法像他承诺的那样不为周旁所控。

This newspaper endorsed Mr Obama at last year’s election (see article) in part because he had surrounded himself with enough intelligent centrists. We also said that the eventual success of his presidency would be based on two things: resuscitating the world economy; and bringing the new emerging powers into the Western order. He has now hurt both objectives.
这份报纸(see article)在去年大选时期支持奥巴马,因为他拥有足够的聪明才智与两党周旋,从而保持中立。我们也说过,奥巴马最终成功当选也由于两方面的原因:复苏世界经济;在西方体系中注入新兴力量。而他现在,已经伤害到了这两个目标。

Deeply tiresome
极端厌恶
Last year the fear was that Mr Obama would give in to enormous protectionist pressure from Congress. By introducing the levy, Mr Obama has pandered to a single union, one that does not even represent a majority of American tyre-industry workers, and he has done so against the interests of everyone else (see article). America’s tyre-makers, who have more or less given up making low-end tyres at home in favor of importing them (often from joint-ventures in guess where) declined to support the application for import “relief”. Consumers will have to pay more. The motor and garage trades will be harmed. And no one can seriously imagine that any American tyre-making job will be saved; firms will simply import cheap tyres from other low-cost places like India and Brazil.
去年我们担心奥巴马会妥协于来自于国会中保护主义者施加的巨大压力。通过推行新的征税法案,奥巴马只对一个工会亮了白旗,可是这个工会甚至不能代表广大的美国轮胎制造业工人,同时他的做法也损害到了其他人的利益(see article)。美国轮胎制造者,或多或少放弃了在家门口制造低端轮胎,而倾向于进口,申请进口补助也下降了,消费者将会承担更多的费用,汽车和修理交易也将受到伤害。没有人能够认真想想,哪些美国轮胎制造业的工作是能被拯救的;那些公司会以简单的方式从印度和巴西等廉价地区进口便宜的轮胎。

One might argue that these tariffs don’t matter much. They apply, after all, only to imports worth a couple of billion dollars last year, hardly the stuff of a great trade war. China is incandescent with rage; but China is a master of theatrical overreaction. Its actual response so far has been the minor one of announcing an anti-dumping investigation into American chicken and car-parts exports. The whole affair might blow over, much as did the furore surrounding George Bush’s selective steel tariffs (much worse ones than Mr Obama’s on tyres) back in 2002. Presidents, after all, sometimes have to throw a bit of red meat to their supporters: Mr Obama needs to keep the unions on side to help his health-reform bill.
有人也许会争辩,那些关税根本就不是什么大事。毕竟去年的进口就只有几十亿美元而已,算不上是这张贸易战争的“主角”。中国的脾气很大,不过却是演技派的,知道如何表达自己强烈的情绪。迄今为止,中国的真实反应最小的事件要数宣布对美国鸡肉及汽车配件进行反倾销调查。这个事件早晚会烟消云散,就像当初布什总统在2002年因选择性钢铁关税(比奥巴马的轮胎事件严重很多)面临的愤怒一样。不论怎样,总统们有些时候不得不让他的支持者们尝点甜头:奥巴马需要拉拢工会在自己一边,支持他的医疗卫生改革法案。

That view seems naive. It is not just that workers in all sorts of other industries that have suffered at the hands of Chinese competitors will now be embolden[HK1] ed to seek the same kind of protection from a president who has given in[HK2] to the unions at the first opportunity[HK3] . The tyre decision needs to be set into the context of a string of ominously[HK4] protectionist policies which started within weeks of the inauguration with a nasty set of “Buy America” provisions for public-works[HK5] contracts. The president watered these down[HK6] a bit, but was not brave enough to veto[HK7] . Next, the president stayed silent as Congress shut down a project that was meant to lead to the opening of the border to Mexican trucks, something promised in the NAFTA agreement of 1994. Besides these sins of commission sit the sins of omission: the president has done nothing at all to advance the three free-trade packages that are pending in Congress, with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, three solid American allies who deserve much better. And much more serious than that, because it affects the whole world, is his failure to put anything worthwhile on the table to help revive the moribund[HK8]Doha round of trade talks[HK9] . Mr Bush’s tariffs, like the Reagan-era export restraints[HK10] on Japanese cars and semiconductors, came from a president who was fundamentally committed to free trade. Mr Obama’s, it seems, do not.
那种想法看起来很天真。由于中国竞争者而陷入困境的人,不仅仅是美国各行各业的劳动者,他们会鼓起勇气要求从已经投靠工会的总统那得到同样的保护。有关轮胎的决定需要列入到一连串不祥的保护主义政策中,这些政策是从就职典礼几周内所颁布的为公共建筑合同制定的一套“购买美国”条款开始的。总统阁下曾将其淡化,但是没有足够的勇气将其否决。然后,当国会终止为墨西哥卡车开放边境道路的项目(1994年NAFTA协议中的承诺)时,奥巴马选择了缄默。除了违约和不履行约定,总统阁下尚无做出任何行动,以推动国会待定的与哥伦比亚、巴拿巴和南韩三国的自由贸易计划,这三个美国的可靠同盟国理应得到更好的结果。比这个更严重的是,此事不仅影响到全世界,也使奥巴马无法将任何有利砝码带到谈判桌上,帮助恢复毫无进展的多哈回合贸易谈判。布什总统的关税,就像里根时期的对日本汽车和半导体的出口限制,是从根本上实施自由贸易,但奥巴马看起来不是那么做的。

America is needed to lead. The global trading system has many enemies, but in recent times the man in the White House could be counted as its main champion. As the driver of the world’s great opening, America has gained hugely in terms of power and prestige, but the extraordinary burst of growth that globalization has triggered has also lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty over the past few decades and brought lower prices to consumers everywhere. The global recession threatens to undo some of that, as country after country is tempted to subsidies here and protect there. World trade is likely to slump[HK11] by 10% in 2009, and a report from the Geneva-based World Trade Alliance claimed this week that, on average, a G20 member has broken the no-protectionism pledge[HK12] once every three days since it was made. For Mr Obama now to take up the no-protection cause at the G20’s forthcoming meeting in Pittsburgh would, alas, be laughable. But if America does not set an example, no one else is likely to.
美国需要处在领先的地位。全球贸易体系中敌人众多,但是在最近的一段时间,白宫里的人被认为是真正的冠军。作为世界大开放的推动者,美国赢得了权利和威望,但全球化引发的爆炸式增长也使数以百万人在过去几十年摆脱贫困,也使世界各地的消费者能享受到低廉的物价。在众多国家一个接一个被煽动着补助这里,保护那里之后,由于全球性的经济衰退的威胁,这一大好环境被破坏。2009年的世界贸易可能下降了10%,一份出自位于日内瓦的世界贸易联盟的报告在本周声称,从不实行贸易保护主义的承诺发布开始,20国集团成员平均每三天就毁约一次。因此,奥巴马想要在匹兹堡即将召开的20国集团会议上着手处理无保护政策,简直是贻笑大方。但是,如果美国不树立榜样,其它国家更没有可能。

Dumb and dumber
装聋作哑

Nor is the potential fallout[HK13] from Mr Obama’s wrongheaded[HK14] decision limited to trade. Evidence of a weak president being pushed leftward might cause investors to worry whether he will prove similarly feeble[HK15] when it comes to reining in[HK16] the vast deficits he is now racking up; and that might spook[HK17] the buyers of bonds that finance all those deficits. Looming large among these, of course, are the Chinese. Deteriorating[HK18] trade relations between the world’s number one debtor and its number one creditor are enough to keep any banker awake at night.
奥巴马错误的决定所产生的潜在余波不是限制贸易的因素。奥巴马由于左倾表现出来的软弱可能让投资者产生忧虑,怀疑当他面对制止巨额赤字的时候是否会表现出同样的软弱,如果真的是这样,无疑会惊吓到把资金投入赤字的基金购买者。当然,在这之中,中国是最大的债主。日益恶化的世界最大欠债国和债主国之间的贸易关系足以让每个银行家夜不能寐。

And America needs China for a lot more than T-bonds[HK19] . Any hope of securing a climate-change agreement at Copenhagen in December on a successor treaty to Kyoto will require close co-operation between America and China. So does the work of negotiating with North Korea on its nuclear weapons. And as for Iran, where America is keen to seek a fresh round[HK20] of UN sanctions[HK21] in the hope of forcing it to scrap[HK22] its nuclear programme, China holds a power of veto at the Security Council. Under the relevant trade laws, Mr Obama had the absolute discretion[HK23] not to impose the recommended tyre tariffs on the grounds of[HK24] overall economic interest or national security. Given everything that is at stake[HK25] , his decision not to exercise it amounts to an act of vandalism[HK26] .
除了长期债券,美国在其它方面更需要中国。今年12月,美国将会在哥本哈根和京都续签气候改变协议,是否能顺利签署取决于中美之间的紧密合作,另外与北朝鲜商谈核武器也要看中国脸色。伊朗方面,美国积极请求新一轮的联合国认可,希望可以迫使伊朗放弃核研究计划,而中国在安理会有一票否决权。鉴于有关的贸易法规的影响,奥巴马必须保持慎重,不要以全盘经济利益或国家安全为由,强行实施被推荐的轮胎关税。所有的事情都利益攸关,奥巴马不作为的决定就等于是一种故意破坏的行为。


[HK1]鼓励,使勇敢,使有胆量

[HK2]屈服,投降,让步

[HK3]一有机会

[HK4]不吉利的,恶兆的

[HK5]公共建设工程

[HK6]Water down,削弱,淡化

[HK7]否决

[HK8]经营不善的,无进展的

[HK9]多哈回合贸易谈判

[HK10]出口管制

[HK11]暴跌

[HK12]不实行贸易保护主义的承诺

[HK13]余波,放射尘,(核爆炸后的)沉降物

[HK14]判断错误的

[HK15]软弱的,无力的

[HK16]放慢,止住,控制

[HK17]吓唬

[HK18]恶化的

[HK19]长期债券

[HK20]新一轮

[HK21]批准,认可

[HK22]废弃,丢弃

[HK23]慎重,谨慎

[HK24]以...为理由

[HK25]利害攸关

[HK26]故意毁坏

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