based on a just released analysis by Minyanville entitled " 10 Everyday Items that Cost Way More Because Of US Taxes " ... from

Going back a couple of years, you may remember this thread - . It discussed the economic consequences of the US minimum wage being enforced in American Samoa ... which up to that time had been America's primary source of canned Tuna.

(snip)Canned Tuna

Back in 2002, white albacore canner Bumble Bee Seafoods – a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods (CAG) – began lobbying Capitol Hill to raise canned tuna tariffs against Ecuador. Bumble Bee was seeking to make business more difficult for its competitor StarKist Seafood Co., then owned by HJ Heinz Company (HNZ), currently a subsidiary of the privately held Dongwon Enterprise Co, Ltd. The tariff had been as high as 35%, and protected US interests in American Samoa’s beleaguered cannery industry. These manufacturers were threatened by nearby competitors in Thailand and Indonesia, and they were calling for tariffs as high as possible on every other tuna canner in the business.

This struggle continued in 2010, when Congress raised the minimum wage in American Samoa, and, facing tighter profit margins, Chicken of the Sea producers Thai Union Group shut down its factories in the country. Along with Bumble Bee, the company “adopted a business model of exploiting cheap foreign labor to clean their fish while employing skeletal crews of 200 employees or less in small US operations in Georgia, Puerto Rico, and California to package the final product," said US Representative Eni Faleomavaega, American Samoa’s non-voting congressional representative, at the time.

It’s these methods that have allowed canners to avoid the canned tuna tariff that still, after years of effort, remains at 35%."(snip)

... so, in exchange for the 'right' to be paid $7.25 an hour instead of $4 an hour, thousands of now unemployed American Samoans now have the right to collect government assistance. And in exchange for a 35% tariff ( thus ~15%+ more expensive prices for canned tuna on US supermarket shelves ) mainland America has gained a couple of hundred jobs at newly constructed final canning facilities which basically 'assemble' imported pre-cleaned tuna fish into cans onto which a 'Made In USA' label can be affixed. The big 'winners' in all this are, of course, the thousands of very low pay rate 'third world country' based tuna fishing operations and tuna pre-cleaning operations that now ship canned tuna contents ( in bulk, without actually being canned ) to the USA.

You may also remember this thread from around the same time period ... . It discussed the fact that a newly enacted tariff on Chinese Tires, intended to protect high paying jobs at unionized US tire plants, was likely to significantly increase 'low cost' US tire offerings.


The US tariff on tires made in China is one example where a well-intentioned government move may have backfired. In 2009, a 35% tariff was slapped on tires manufactured in China, and the US sat and waited for tire manufacturing jobs to flow back to American shores. In his 2012 State of the Union address, Obama praised the success of this protective duty. But, as John Bussey recently put it in an article for the Wall Street Journal, “If it doesn't get built in China and it's too expensive to make in the US, it will get made in a cheap locale somewhere else.”

A representative from the major US tire dealer Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co (GT) explained to the Wall Street Journal that the business has hardly been affected by the tariff, and the company hasn’t been involved in the Chinese market for years.

According to the US-China Business Council, between 2009 and 2011 tire imports from China dropped by 30%, while imports from Canada increased by the same percentage. Imports to the United States from South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, and Mexico all increased over 100%, with imports from Taiwan increasing by 285%. The council also sources the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which charts the US tire manufacturing industry’s decline over the past decade. In the year 2000, the US boasted roughly 86,800 tire manufacturing jobs, which by 2011 took a sharp dip to roughly 51,700.

In response to Obama’s statement, US-China Business Council President John Frisbie was quoted disparaging the claims.

"So far as saving American jobs, it just isn't working. And it really hurt a lot of people in the industry—smaller businesses that geared up to bring these tires in from China."(snip)

... so in exchange for ~15% higher prices for the lowest available cost tires on US auto store shelves, The US has continued to lose well paid US union tire plant jobs. Also, less well paid US jobs previously involved with the import and distribution of Chinese tires were lost. Granted that the latter group of jobs has probably been replaced with new jobs involving the import of Taiwanese, South Korean and other comparatively lower cost ( lower than US manufactured tires but more expensive than pre-tariff Chinese tires) imported tires.

Arguably, a 'double fail' in both cases ...