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minimum wage import duties

minimum wage import duties

No idea if this would be feasible or desirable, but it occurred to me that it would be theoretically possible to charge an import duty on any item which is based on the minimum wage in the country of origin. It's a somewhat blunt instrument but it might serve to level the playing field somewhat between low wage countries and our own. Depending on political preference the receipts could be distributed as consumption tax cuts, support for local businesses or to charities to improve labour conditions in the countries of origin

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    • Tim O'Donnell
      commented 2016-11-26 21:52:05 +1300
      You’re asking to remove free trade which would effect us as counties would in tern add tariffs to our products in retaliation. If you can’t meet the price you have to offer something else as the benefit. Not everything is sold on price (it’s just a large contributor to the decision process)
    • Tim O'Donnell
      tagged this with dislike 2016-11-26 21:52:05 +1300
    • Phil Marshall
      commented 2016-11-26 02:59:53 +1300
      Building on Graeme’s comment, the US Tariff Act specifically bans products made by forced or indentured labor. Although it has been in place since 1930, there was an exemption until recently which made it largely meaningless (basically, ‘unless Americans want it’). Obama removed it. We could potentially do something similar here and piggy-back on their info.
    • Phil Marshall
      tagged this with interesting 2016-11-26 02:59:53 +1300
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward
      commented 2016-11-26 00:26:47 +1300
      I like the thought but wonder if minimum wage is the right place to look. One of the tenants of globalism is that some countries are better at certain things than others and therefore we get trade. NZ has a very strong dairy industry based on decades of effort and learning to create trustworthy products so we trade milk powder to China for their expertise at assembling electronic goods. That’s cool, that’s the way the world rolls. Sometimes the advantage is a large pool of cheap labour. It does fall apart a bit when the basis for competition is exploitation. Child slavery is rife in the cocoa production business and as a result humane growers of the product cannot compete. Similarly decades ago, NZ had a lot of clothing manufacturing. It’s one thing to lose it to cheaper labour overseas but another for NZ textile production to go to Bangladesh where children and young adults work 12 hour days locked in dangerous rickety firetrap for a barely minimal wage. Import duties should reflect the employee protections so that inhumane methods of production are disincentivized. There’s probably not a lot NZ can do but I suspect that this would probably be something picked up by the U.S. (After all, this is the basis for Trumps platform) which may give it some legs. I don’t know what the real answer is there but I hope that gives someone else food for thought. Oh, yes. We need to have mandatory country of origin labelling.
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward
      tagged this with interesting 2016-11-26 00:26:46 +1300
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward
      tagged this with important 2016-11-26 00:26:46 +1300
    • Ben Wylie-van Eerd
      published this page in Suggestions 2016-11-25 21:21:21 +1300