经济学人官方译文节选 | 关税 对世界贸易的威胁 Tariffs The threat to world trade

微信公众号:田间小站

Tariffs
The threat to world trade
The rules-based system is in grave danger

关税
对世界贸易的威胁
基于规则的体系岌岌可危

DONALD TRUMP is hardly the first American president to slap unilateral tariffs on imports. Every inhabitant of the Oval Office since Jimmy Carter has imposed some kind of protectionist curbs(选词)on trade, often on steel. Nor will Mr Trump’s vow to put 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminium by themselves wreck the economy: they account for 2% of last year’s $2.4trn of goods imports, or 0.2% of GDP. If this were the extent of Mr Trump’s protectionism, it would simply be an act of senseless self-harm(词汇). In fact, it is a potential disaster—both for America and for the world economy.
特朗普不是第一个单方面加征进口关税的美国总统。自卡特以来,椭圆办公室的每一任主人都实施过一些贸易保护主义措施,通常是针对钢铁行业。特朗普誓言对钢铁征收25%的关税,对铝征收10%的关税,这本身也不会对经济造成什么损害:钢铁和铝仅占去年2.4万亿美元进口商品总额的2%,占GDP的0.2%。如果特朗普的保护主义到此为止,那只会是一种毫无意义的自残行为。但实际上,这对美国和世界经济都可能是一场灾难。

As yet it is unclear exactly what Mr Trump will do. But the omens are bad. Unlike his predecessors, Mr Trump is a long-standing sceptic of free trade. He has sneered at the multilateral trading system, which he sees as a bad deal for America. His administration is chaotic, and Gary Cohn’s ominous decision on March 6th to resign as the president’s chief economic adviser deprives the White House of a rare free-trader, signalling that it has fallen into protectionist hands. Not since its inception at the end of the second world war has the global trading system faced such danger.
目前尚不清楚特朗普到底会做什么,但前景不妙。与历任美国总统不同,特朗普一直(句型)对自由贸易持怀疑态度。他对多边贸易体系嗤之以鼻(词汇),认为该体系令美国受到了不公正的待遇。他的政府混乱无序,而本月6日加里·科恩(Gary Cohn)又做出了一个让人感觉不妙的决定:辞去总统首席经济顾问一职。这下白宫内本就稀有的自由贸易支持者又少了一人,表明这届政府已成为贸易保护主义者的天下。全球贸易体系自二战后建立以来从未面临过这样的危险。

Rough trade
贸易乱战

This danger has several dimensions. One is the risk of tit-for-tat escalation. After the EU said it would retaliate with sanctions on American goods, including bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorbikes, Mr Trump threatened exports of European cars.
危险表现在几方面。一是以牙还牙的报复行动有升级的风险。在欧盟表示要对波本威士忌、哈雷摩托车等美国商品实施反制措施后,特朗普威胁要向欧盟出口的汽车征税。

The second danger springs from(句型) Mr Trump’s rationale. The tariffs are based on a little-used law that lets a president protect industry on grounds of national security. That excuse is self-evidently spurious. Most of America’s imports of steel come from Canada, the European Union, Mexico and South Korea, America’s allies. Canada and Mexico look set to be temporarily excluded—but only because Mr Trump wants leverage in his renegotiation of the North American Free-Trade Agreement, which has nothing to do with national security. Mr Trump is setting a precedent(句型) that other countries are sure to exploit to protect their own producers, just as spuriously.
第二个危险来自特朗普的行动依据。此番征收关税的依据是一项极少援引的法律:总统可以以国家安全为由保护工业。这个理由显然站不住脚。美国进口的钢材大部分来自它的盟友,如加拿大、欧盟、墨西哥和韩国。加拿大和墨西哥看起来暂时会得到豁免,但这只是因为特朗普希望在重新谈判《北美自由贸易协定》时有筹码在手,与国家安全毫无关联。特朗普开创了一个先例,今后其他国家势必效仿,以同样难以成立的理由来保护本国生产商。

经济学人官方译文节选 | 关税 对世界贸易的威胁 Tariffs The threat to world trade

It is not clear whether other countries can respond legally when national security is invoked in this way. This puts the World Trade Organisation (WTO) into a rat trap(词汇). Either Mr Trump will provoke a free-for-all(词汇)of recrimination and retaliation that the WTO’s courts cannot adjudicate, or the courts will second-guess America’s national-security needs, in which case Mr Trump may storm out of the organisation altogether.
美国此番搬出国家安全的名义,其他国家是否可以诉诸法律仲裁目前尚不清楚。世贸组织(WTO)陷入了窘境。要么是特朗普将引发一场互相指责和报复的混战(词汇),令世贸组织的法庭无法裁决;要么法庭对美国的国家安全需求做事后批评(句型),在这种情况下,特朗普可能会愤然退出该组织。

Mr Trump has lobbed his grenade as the WTO is already under strain. The collapse of the Doha round of trade talks in 2015, after 14 fruitless years, put needed reforms on hold indefinitely. Disputes that might have been swept into a new trade round have fallen to the WTO’s dispute-resolution machinery, which is too slow and too frail to carry the burden. The WTO has not kept pace with economic change. Investment is increasingly tied up in intangibles, such as patents and copyright, rather than physical assets, such as steel mills. Rules drafted for rich, market-led economies cannot always police state capitalism. The implicit subsidies China gives its producers were a cause of global gluts in industrial metals. No wonder that the world’s second-biggest economy has been the focus of so much anger.
特朗普扔出这枚手榴弹之际,世贸组织本已承受重压。经过14年没有成果的会谈后,2015年多哈回合贸易谈判破裂,令必需的改革无限期搁置(词汇)。一些争端本可能会进入(句型)新一轮贸易谈判,然而世贸组织的争端解决机制太过缓慢和脆弱(词汇),无法承担此重负。世贸组织没有跟上经济变化的步伐。投资越来越多地和专利、版权这样的无形资产联系在一起,而不是像钢铁厂这样的有形资产。为市场主导的富裕经济体制定的规则并不总能管制(句型)国家资本主义。中国向其生产商提供的隐性补贴是导致全球工业金属过剩的原因之一。难怪这个世界第二大经济体已经成为众矢之的(词汇)。

Whatever the WTO’s problems, it would be a tragedy to undermine it. If America pursues a mercantilist trade policy in defiance of the global trading system, other countries are bound to follow. That might not lead to an immediate collapse of the WTO, but it would gradually erode one of the foundations of the globalised economy.
无论世贸组织有怎样的问题,破坏它都将酿成一场悲剧。如果美国无视全球贸易体系,奉行重商主义(词汇)的贸易政策,其他国家肯定会效仿。这可能不会导致世贸组织立即崩溃,但会逐渐侵蚀全球化经济的一大根基。

Everyone would suffer. Mr Trump seems to think trade is a zero-sum affair(词汇), in which a deficit is a sign of a bad deal. But the vast improvement in living standards after the second world war went hand in hand with(句型)a rapid expansion in world trade over eight trade rounds, each of which lowered barriers. Imports are in fact welcome, because they benefit consumers and spur producers to specialise in what they do best.
谁的日子都不会好过。特朗普似乎认为贸易是一种零和活动,而赤字是糟糕交易的信号。然而二战后生活水平的巨大提高与世界贸易的快速扩张密切相关,推动这种扩张的八个贸易回合谈判中,每一回合都降低了贸易壁垒。进口商品其实是受欢迎的,因为它们使消费者受益,还会促使生产者专注于他们最擅长的产品。

Without the WTO, cross-border trade would continue—it is unstoppable—but the lack of norms and procedures would leave disputes to escalate. The fewer the rules, the more scope for mercantilist mischief and backsliding. Trade policy could be captured by special interests. Military power would hold greater sway in trade disputes than economic fair play. Transnational investment could drain away. As a vast continental economy, America would lose less from this than other countries. It would nonetheless lose a lot, including a pillar of the system that has underpinned its post-war political influence.
如果没有世贸组织,跨境贸易仍将继续,毕竟这是不可阻挡的,但缺乏规范和规程将导致争端升级。规则越少,重商主义制造麻烦和倒退的余地就越大。贸易政策可能会被特殊利益集团把持。在贸易争端中,军事力量会比经济上的公平竞争更具影响力。跨国投资可能会流失。作为一个巨大的大陆经济体,美国的损失会少于其他国家。然而它还是会损失重大,包括支撑其战后政治影响力的体系中的一大支柱。

How should the world get out of this bind? Even as Mr Trump behaves with astonishing irresponsibility, others must keep their heads(句型). Some may impose limited retaliation—that, after all, is how to treat bullies, and the threat to local manufactures will strengthen the hand of(句型)Republicans pressing Mr Trump to relent. But such action must be proportionate and limited. A tit-for-tat(词汇) war with America would be disastrous.
全世界应该如何摆脱这一困局?特朗普表现出惊人的不负责任之时,其他人必须保持冷静。一些人可能会采取有限的报复措施,毕竟对恃强凌弱者就是要反击,而对本土制造商的威胁也会让共和党人极力劝说特朗普放宽政策。但这类行动必须适度且有限度。对美国以牙还牙将会是一场灾难。

回归根本
Back to basics

更重要的任务是加强对贸易的支持。如果全球都支持修整世贸组织,可能会让人稍感安慰。但现状并非如此。仅有的新贸易协议也是地区性的,比如《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》(TPP),这个于本周签署的十一国协定将成为贸易现代化的蓝图。尽管特朗普之前放弃了这一协定,但暗示他可能会重新考虑,这可能会是个开始。
The more important task is to shore up support for trade. It would be comforting to think there is global backing(句型) to fix the WTO. But just now, there is not. The only new trade deals on offer are regional, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an 11-country pact signed this week that sets out to be a blueprint for trade modernisation. Although Mr Trump abandoned it, he has hinted he may reconsider, which would be a start.

The best way to help the WTO would be for its other members to co-ordinate any action(句型), including bringing in a WTO complaint about Mr Trump’s tariffs. Even though that may burden the WTO’s court, it would be a vote of confidence in the idea that the global economy should be governed by rules.
要帮助世贸组织,最好的办法是其他成员在任何行动上协调一致,包括向世贸组织投诉特朗普的关税政策。尽管这可能会给世贸组织的法庭带来负担,但这将会是一张“信任票”,表示各国相信全球经济应当受到规则的管理约束。

The world is a long way from the 1930s, thank goodness. Yet ignorance and complacency have put the trading system in grave danger(词汇). Free-traders need to recognise that the WTO can help keep markets open in the face of protectionist lobbying, at home and abroad. It is vital(句型)they make the intellectual case for rules-based trade. That will not be easy. For the first time in decades, their biggest foe is the man in the Oval Office.
谢天谢地,我们离上世纪30年代已经很遥远了。然而,无知和自满让贸易体系岌岌可危。支持自由贸易的人士要认识到,在面对贸易保护主义的游说时,世贸组织有助于市场保持开放,无论是在国内还是国外。至关重要的一点是,他们得证明(句型)基于规则的贸易是有理有据的。这并不容易。眼下他们最大的敌人就是椭圆办公室里的那个人。几十年来,这还是头一遭。

打赏

微信赞赏支付宝赞赏