Letter: Rethinking tariffs



The Obama administration’s Commerce Department levied tariffs on Chinese and Vietnamese manufacturers of wind towers, the Wall Street Journal reported in its July 30 edition. The Wind Tower Trade Coalition won a major coup, gaining between 20.85 percent and a whopping 72.69 percent tariff advantage by claiming Chinese companies were engaging in “anti-competitive behavior.”

Anti-competitive behavior? The Chinese claim manufacturing breakthroughs precipitated the fall in price. Usually, we call that a competitive edge.

What the U.S., and particularly the Northwest, really needs in industries such as paper is an environmental tariff. If a foreign manufacturer is producing a product while abusing the environment in ways that run counter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or Oregon Department of Environmental Quality standards, then they should get slapped with a 30 percent tariff until they can prove their emissions and wastewater meet our stringent, business-crippling regulations.

This should be applied to every phase of the manufacturing process, from the coal-fired energy plant through packaging and trucking.

An environmental tariff would have the intended consequence of leveling the playing field for the American paper industry while improving the lives of the fish in the Yangtze River. Isn’t that a slam dunk?

Wayne Mayo

Scappoose, Ore.