NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Is The International Trade Commission Bad For Trade?

November 22, 1995

To the long list of bureaus, agencies and departments Congress should-but probably won't- abolish, proponents of smaller government include the International Trade Commission.

The six-member panel decides whether U.S. companies involved in antidumping and countervailing duty disputes are being injured by "unfair" imports of foreign goods. Critics charge they merely prop up antiquated U.S. industries and "protect" American consumers from lower priced foreign goods.

  • A two-year study has concluded that the overall effect of antidumping duties is negative -- particularly through the impact on consumers.
  • Everything from paper clips to orange juice has been hit with duties.
  • If antidumping duties could permanently be lifted, it would be as though thousands of goods permanently went on sale.

In just one example of the ITC's impact on the market, its regulations forced the Japanese to raise prices on the DRAM computer chip in order to avoid antidumping charges on chips it sold to American buyers. As a result, Apple had to raise prices on its Macintosh computer by $400 and on the Macintosh II by $1,100.:

Source: Patrick D. Chisholm, "Chalk One Up for Protectionists," Wall Street Journal, November 22, 1995.


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