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From US News:

Bikers vs. steelers
Turns out globalization makes trade wars more, not less, nasty

By Joshua Kurlantzick

Over the past 20 years, motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has survived a brush with bankruptcy yet retained intensely loyal customers, many of whom tattoo the company name on their arms. But now Harley could become a casualty of the nastiest trade war in a decade, a battle made bloodier by the very global integration that trade advocates celebrate.


The confrontation was triggered by President Bush's announcement last month of tariffs of up to 30 percent on foreign steel. Whatever the merits of the move, the politics seemed clear: Big U.S. steel manufacturers employ fewer than one third the workers they did in the 1960s but are concentrated in political swing states like Pennsylvania, notes Andrew Szamosszegi, a steel expert at consulting firm LECG. And Bush's show of sensitivity to their concerns could help persuade trade-wary senators to support "fast track" legislation, making it easier for the president to negotiate trade deals, a vote on which is expected this week.

Settling the dispute may not be easy. As trade negotiators have become closer over the past decade, they have also learned more about using one another's political systems to inflict retaliatory punishment. Europe has threatened tariffs against a diverse list of U.S. products–including Harleys, corsets, orange juice, and, bizarrely, yak hair–produced in states crucial to GOP congressional hopes. Affected U.S. producers, plus steel importers, already are complaining.

Expansion of the global trading system also has complicated battle lines. Disputes could once be handled in backroom deals among Europe, America, and Japan; now more countries have a say, argues Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute. Last month, China, now the world's largest steel producer, challenged the U.S. steel tariffs at the World Trade Organization, a move supported by several developing countries. Yet some analysts think Bush made a wise decision. "America's large steel mills have made huge efficiency gains," says Robert Blecker, a trade specialist at American University. "There will be a global shakeout in the steel industry. When that happens, do we want the cupboard bare of large U.S. steel producers?"

Ultimately, most trade experts believe that the free-market-oriented president will back down. And if not? "We haven't taken official action yet, but we've started talking to unions of Harley owners, our 'hog armies,' " says Joe Hice, a Harley spokesman. Coming soon to the White House: legions of leather-clad bikers.
 

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Well, you know how it goes, it's all about money and power.

If you look at the big picture, unless we totally roll over, eventually we will have to fight some of these guys in a war. Don't forget history. WWII was won with industrial production more then anything else.
If we do not retain a strong industrial capability we may have a problem if it becomes necessary to fight anything other then disorganized rabble that can be bought off.

Harley makes enough net profit with production that they could likely absorb most of the increased cost and still maintain a higher profit then the competition.
Hey, maybe they even start to source components in the US.
 

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Can one person here tell me what the hell we were doing there? Why the hell we went? WHY THOSE AMERICANS DIED?

Sure. The US was involved in Viet Nam as part of the cold war mindset to stop the spread of communism. Things got fucked up when the politicians were allowed a say in the prosecution of that war. The lessons learned have been implemented in recent actions, i.e., the doctrine of overwhelming force. Was the price of learning these lessons high? Fuckin' A.

Can ONE person here tell me why 30 BILLION AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS are going to building a highway system in ISRAEL?

Sure. We don't. Israel receives 3 billion per year in foriegn aid, however, they are required by US law to spend 1.7 billion of those dollars on American made products (mostly military hardware).


I have been in Israel many, MANY times, and they are oppressive bastards! I could not belive it was true and wanted nothing more than to believe it was not but it IS SO. And all the time crying over the "Holicost" while practicing the same hatred and ignorance.

I've never been to Israel, but I can imagine the Israelis are damn tired of other fuckers trying to exterminate them. The Arabs control 99.9% of the land in that region, but want it all. They tried to take it by force a couple of times and had their ass handed to them by the Israeli army. So now they hide behind their children and brainwash them into committing suicide "for Allah".

The ONLY solution is complete military victory. The Israelis can worry about the irony after they secure their safety.


Back on the original topic: we need a realistic evaluation of steel as a stategic resource. Who besides the US are the major steel producers?
Japan and South Korea. What is the likelihood that either of these countries will declare war on the US and cut off our access to steel. About zero.

wyodude
 

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think again

Back on the original topic: we need a realistic evaluation of steel as a stategic resource. Who besides the US are the major steel producers?

You might want to get a little economic intelligence. We have not only wasted enormous amounts of money supporting a so called friendly nation that has never done anything to further our interests and never will unless it furthers their interests, but we are about to pay even more.

China is a major producer fo steel. China has been quietly buying up shares in oil fields and other oil resources while hoping to pay for them with chinese arms. Saudi Arabia has closed the Prince Sultan airfield near Riyadh to american forces, and is drifting ever more towards Iraq and Iran. If you really think Saudi Arabia will not join an oil embargo as soon as we move against Iraq, you might want to think again.

Bottom line, everyone has been on the losing side since last september, with one notable exception. I suppose we will never know what happened behind the scenes, but we surely will have to pay for it unless we wake up.
 

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Back to the original suggestion that we should "buy your hogs now".

Actually this could only make it easier and therefore maybe cheaper to buy a Harley. There isn't enough steel in a motorcycle to make $50 difference in selling price if steel gets even dramatically more expensive. The issue with Harley (if you read the article closely) is that Europe may add import tarrifs to ones going to Europe in retaliation to our adding import tarrifs on stuff coming over here. All that would mean is less export sales to Europe and therefore more bikes for the US market which (along with already increasing production output) means lower or at least stable prices here.
 

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logical said:
Back to the original suggestion that we should "buy your hogs now".

"....All that would mean is less export sales to Europe and therefore more bikes for the US market which (along with already increasing production output) means lower or at least stable prices here.

That is not good logic my logical friend. The increased production would drop with the lower export sales.

If you are a chef and 5 people are coming to dinner, you would not cook for 15.

The fact is the cost to the consumer will go up both here and abroad.

Harley does not use mass production as a means to profit. They use the mistique of "A Harley" to jack the price of the same.

You can buy a Yamaha for $8k or a Harley for $18k. From a production standpoint, it costs more to produce two Yamahas than it does to produce one Harley. Yet and still the Harley sells for more than double.

Harley has decided to go for the higher profit margin PER BIKE and they will continue to do so.
 

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Man, this is deep over my head but I would like to see the U. S. take back some of the Major industries that it has lost to overseas production. The economy is inter-twined globaly now, for what ever reasons, but the US government has not done their part to assure that our industries remain here.

For example in the eighties Harleys had such a steep import tax in Japan that they cost the buyer $50,000 dollars. Of course Harley sued for fair trade and the bikes from Japan over 700cc were taxed. They at first got around some of that by making 699cc bikes. As the demand for much larger bikes increased thay avoided it by shipping the parts and assembling them here. I don't know the total story now, I just know that Harley Davidson was getting screwed as for as fair import tax compared to Japan back then.

Another example of our industry being given away is the lumber business. A friend from Washington lost his job when his lumber mill closed down. It seems that the Japanese were buying the timber and processing it on large ships offshore and then undercutting the lumber price of the lumber mills until they went out of business. A fair import tax may have eliminated losing some of that industry.

The petro chemical industry that used to be so strong here, are all moving overseas leaving a job in the industry hard to come by. From the companies' stand point it is a wise business decision to build where the lower labor cost, envionmental restrictions, and safety regulations can allow a lower production cost. But it's giving our industry and jobs away. It's the trade laws that allows it to be produced overseas and shipped back here cheaper than making it here in the first place. If trade laws are going to be unfair, let's claim our share of them to benitfit us.

There's no easy solution and I'm no expert on world economy, but our downfall has been because our government leaders have taken a good screwing by the foreign countries and don't do anything about it. Yeah, anything we do now will have an impact on world economy but I say we need to bare the burdon now and take our industries back.

Just thinking out loud folks...I don't have all the answers.

later...I'm over my head here LOL,
 

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There's no easy solution and I'm no expert on world economy, but our downfall has been because our government leaders have taken a good screwing by the foreign countries and don't do anything about it. Yeah, anything we do now will have an impact on world economy but I say we need to bare the burdon now and take our industries back

It will never happen. I'm no economist either, but it doesn't take a genius to figure it out.
Economic competition and even trade wars with foreign powers are to be expected, but politicians selling the true american working man down the river is a consecuence of the unlimited power of large corporations that have for all practical purposes bought every single politician. They will do anything to stay in or reach power. No chance in hell to get elected without the support of the media who we all know under which control it is, mega dollars from special interest groups and mass import of useless and semi illiterate voting blocks.

And Joe Q Citizen, sits on the couch and watches Oprah or OJ2 the sequel or the disinformation that passes as news.
 

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Re: think again

HIPPO said:



You might want to get a little economic intelligence.


Just because you don't agree doesn't make me economically naive, HIPPO.

You've made several points let me address them.

1st - I don't think Israel is alone on the list of countries that put their own self interests first. As far as I know, every country to which we give foreign aid, politely accepts it and then invites us to go **** ourselves when we ask them for anything.

2nd - China is indeed a major steel producer, but a significant part of is Taiwanese production.
According to Forbes, South Korea's Pohang Steel is the world's largest producer of steel. Second is Japan's Nippon Steel. Economic simpleton or not, I *can* read. But don't take my word, check it out for yourself. www.forbes.com

I think we do need a rational discussion on steel vis-a-vis our national strategic interests. But with a decade-long decline in US production, coupled with a world-wide glut of steel, I don't think the US taxpayers need to subsidize overpaid union workers and bail out their retirement system.

3rd - China as a military threat. Here's where we might agree. That China is involved in the steel industry doesn't bother me. Hell they are into damn near everything. What does bother me, is the the Chinese own the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal, own a significant portion of the port at Long Beach CA, and else where in the US and Carribean. These fuckers are up to no good.

wyodude
 

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Just because you don't agree doesn't make me economically naive
I didn't say you were economically naive. I just said that there are economical intelligence sources you might not have had the opportunity to check out yet.
I just have this habit of taking into consideration what the independent western european media has to say. You will often find more substantial information then with the local parrotheads and spinmasters.


I don't think Israel is alone on the list of countries that put their own self interests first. As far as I know, every country to which we give foreign aid, politely accepts it and then invites us to go **** ourselves when we ask them for anything.
True, we agree on this. We should tell all of them to **** themselves, with the possible exception of some key western european allies.
The only reason the case of Israel grates a little more is that they take this holier then thou position, while actively infiltrating our decision making system in order to make our politicians take decisions that are not in our best interest. Left on their own they would play a different tune. No other reason.


I think we do need a rational discussion on steel vis-a-vis our national strategic interests. But with a decade-long decline in US production, coupled with a world-wide glut of steel, I don't think the US taxpayers need to subsidize overpaid union workers and bail out their retirement system.
Unions are a political animal and therefore just as corrupt as any other political entity. I think there should be some respect for the american tradesman, which is who I mostly mean when I say the american working man. While the dude flipping burgers technically falls into this category, when push comes to shove flipping burgers for each other isn't going to make much difference.


China as a military threat. Here's where we might agree. That China is involved in the steel industry doesn't bother me. Hell they are into damn near everything. What does bother me, is the the Chinese own the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal, own a significant portion of the port at Long Beach CA, and else where in the US and Carribean. These fuckers are up to no good.
Yeah, they will be a problem, sooner or later. They are very patient, they are a halfway credible military opponent, and they come from a culture where taking a few casualties is not unacceptable.
 
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