Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Buy local?

"Buy local" seems to the the flavour now. It made news in France over demands of separate shelves in super markets selling French made goods while the U.S.Olympic national dress issue grabbed headlines for a few days. However both these were not "State measures" and hence were outside the purview of WTO provisions. An interesting discussion on this issue in the comments section of this IELP blogpost initiated by Marc Benitah made very interesting reading.


Ever wondered where your pair of jeans was manufactured? This blogpost from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) espouses the cause of "buy American" to boost the American economy and jobs. 
"Buying American isn’t just an antiquated idea. Our future as a nation depends on reviving our economy to create good jobs that allow those who put in a fair day’s work to receive a fair day’s pay: to raise families and send the next generation to college. By supporting American manufacturers, we can all do our part to be America’s real job creators. For more ideas on reviving the American economy, go to"
They make the point that a strong industrial base and buying local was always part of the U.S. growth story and one should encourage buying local in housing, food and clothing. Three websites of "buy American" emphasize the point of the advantages of buying local as compared to imported goods - Still Made in, and 

Now, this is not an executive of the State and hence would not amount to a "State measure" which can be challenged at the WTO. However, the intent of making a choice between local and imported goods is clearly there. It is an exhortation to people to be "patriotic" and buy local and shun imported goods. Wonder what the free traders would have to say to this? Is there a middle path here? Local for some products, international for others, perhaps?

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