There is a tendency today towards domestic protectionism and while it is not surprising, it is also not wise. Using the U.S. as an example, those with global marketing experience know that a “buy American” attitude will cost the U.S. and the world billions of dollars and reduce the number of jobs. The U.S. needs the companies from other nations with facilities in the U.S. to continue to pump money and jobs into the economy. These companies should be welcome to do so, particularly when they create products Americans want at an affordable price.
Conversely, when an American company ventures abroad, it wants its contribution to another country’s economy to be welcomed, not feared. The reception it receives in those countries will be driven by the openness the U.S. offers outside companies. Every time a U.S. firm loses business abroad because of retaliation for American restrictions, the economy suffers. Keeping the U.S. open to trade will avoid a new global battle of trade restrictions that will undo decades of effort by corporations and governments to eliminate the trade barriers that keep businesses from thriving.
Recent economic recovery plans in the U.S. and abroad have provided both an opportunity to send a signal to markets about what they can expect in terms of U.S. trade, and a chance to reassert U.S. leadership on a global stage. Discussions of U.S. economic improvements must go beyond domestic issues and include a focus on global recovery. Countries must be willing and able to buy each other’s goods – in increasing quantities – if economies are to blossom. Financing is key to their success, so recovery plans that include governmental efforts to help companies finance overseas ventures, including providing buyers with credit, will boost the domestic economy as well.
What do you readers feel about protectionism? Is it always wrong or do you think, as some do, that it is necessary in this period?