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Top U.S. economists warn Congress against anti-China protectionist measures
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13:09, August 02, 2007

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More than 1,000 top American economists have signed a petition to urge Congress not to impose protectionist measures against China, saying such a move would hurt the U.S.

The petition, sponsored by the Club for Growth, was signed by a total of 1,028 economists from all 50 states and top universities.

In addition to many other prominent and well-respected economists, signatories include Nobel laureates Finn Kydland, Edward Prescott, Thomas Schelling and Vernon Smith.

The economists said in the petition that China currently supplies American consumers with inexpensive goods and low-interest rate loans and retaliatory tariffs on China "are tantamount to taxing ourselves as a punishment."

"Worse, such a move will likely encourage China to impose its own tariffs, increasing the possibility of a futile and harmful trade war. American consumers and businesses would pay the price for this senseless war through higher prices, worse jobs, and reduced economic growth," they warned.

"As economists, we understand the vital and beneficial role that free trade plays in the world economy. Conversely, we believe that barriers to free trade destroy wealth and benefit no one in the long run," they said. "Because of these fundamental economic principles, we sign this letter to advise Congress against imposing retaliatory trade measures against China."

The economists said trade between the U.S. and China is mutually beneficial. Government data shows that total trade between the two countries has soared from 116 billion dollars in 2000 to almost 343 billion dollars in 2006. That''s an average growth rate of almost 20 percent a year.

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