Protectionism bad for New England lobstermen


From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

Beware of protectionism, especially involving close and traditionally friendly nations. Here’s a little  example of what can happen when the United States excludes itself from international trade deals.

The New England lobster industry (which mostly means Maine) is understandably worried about the fact that Canada, whose Maritime Provinces are very big lobster exporters, and the European Union have agreed to end E.U. tariffs on Canadian lobster imports. North American lobsters are very popular, if expensive, food in Europe. The E.U. is the world’s biggest seafood importer.

The lobster deal is part of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Implementation Act (CETA). This is the sort of agreement that recalls the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free-trade agreement between the E.U. and the U.S. Such a pact would strengthen economies on both sides of the Atlantic and make the West better able to confront the economic and security challenges posed by the aggressive, expansionist dictatorships of Russia and China.  And, after all, we share basic political, social and economic values with Europe. We’re stronger together. But the Trump administration’s instincts, here and elsewhere, are protectionist, even when it comes to our closest allies, whom we need as much as they need us in a dangerous world.

The TTIP would, of course, be particularly beneficial to New England.