In the July 17, 2021 edition of Wheels, Ed Wallace ♫ laments the tariffs that Bill Clinton placed on cars imported from Japan in the 1990s. The tariffs increased the price of the cars sold at his Acura dealership, so Wallace likely sold fewer cars and personally made less money. Wallace claims Americans gained nothing but higher prices for imported cars. Wallace ignores that manufacturing capacity and jobs are valuable to a nation and difficult to replace once lost. Wallace ignores that Japan had steep non-tariff barriers to car imports and did not provide the same fair marketplace to imports into Japan. Japan still maintains artificial barriers to auto imports. In 2017, 93% of cars sold in Japan are domestically manufactured, while only 7% total are imported from the United States, Europe (i.e. Volkswagen) and elsewhere. While protectionism to avoid competition should generally be verboten, something must be done when United States auto manufacturers are not allowed access to the Japanese auto market equal to that Japanese auto makers have to American auto market. Thanks to the tariffs, Japanese firms were pushed to accelerate the opening of auto manufacturing plants and sourcing of parts within the United States, which somewhat mitigates the problem.
If protectionist and corrupt practices by trade partners are unchecked, the United States loses its manufacturing base and intellectual property. Wallace cares not as long as his personal interests are not harmed by the lost of your job due to protectionist policies that block United States exports or steal its intellectual property. Other than that, Wallace is 'on your side'.