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Here is a link to a comment from a libertarian think tank in Washington about WTO rules and the environment. Please read it and answer the following questions.
1. If a rich country like the US has entered into trade agreements and promised low or no tariffs on imports of products like solar panels, should the government be able to give preference to domestically made solar panels over imported solar panels? This would presumably increase the cost of solar panels in the US and make green energy more expensive. Simon Lester suggests that there is something special about green energy, because it has positive externalities on the rest of the world by reducing CO2 emissions, and therefore it may be more important to keep prices low for solar panels than for other goods. Do you agree?
2. What about requiring that domestic steel be used in the construction of highway bridges and other infrastructure projects that the government builds? Is that a trade barrier that should not be allowed under WTO rules? (I’m not asking what WTO rules say. I’m asking, what do you think should be allowed.)
3. If encouraging green energy puts coal miners in small towns in West Virginia out of work, should the US government do anything to help them find new jobs that it doesn’t do for other unemployed workers? Should the Chinese government do anything for Chinese coal, steel, and cement workers in Heilongjiang or Jilin?
4. Should rules requiring national treatment by governments also extend to developing countries, or should they be allowed to use policies favoring their domestic industries in order to promote infant industry development?