The U.S. government should not respond to China's allegedly undervalued renminbi by raising taxes on Americans who buy imports.Boudreaux conitnues by pointing out the effects of a globalised supply chain.
The lower the value of the renminbi the wealthier it makes Americans. Ultimately, the goal of trade is to import goods and services. Exports are a cost; they're the price paid for imports. By keeping the value of its currency low, Beijing enables Americans to stretch our dollars farther. This results in significant improvements in living standards.
University of Chicago economist Christian Broda explains, "In U.S. stores, prices of consumer goods have fallen the most in sectors where Chinese presence has increased the most." Prof. Broda also finds that the benefits of low-priced Chinese goods flow disproportionately to poor Americans, dampening the effects of income disparities. Low-priced consumer goods are good for Americans regardless of why the prices are low.
A higher-value renminbi (as opposed to threatened U.S. tariffs) won't necessarily achieve the hoped-for rise in the prices Americans pay for Chinese goods. Supply chains today are global, so many of the components that Chinese manufacturers use are imported into China from elsewhere. If the value of the renminbi rises, Chinese producers' costs of acquiring these components decrease. The resulting fall in Chinese production costs enables producers there to cut prices. Lower prices of Chinese finished products would offset, perhaps significantly, the higher prices Americans would pay even with a higher-valued renminbi.Basically an "artificially low renminbi" means China is making the rest of the world wealthier at its own expense. Why are we complaining?