Duxburian Union - Office of the Treasury

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    Good evening, I'm Robert Kligenberg, Officer of the Treasury and Economic Affairs of the Duxburian Union. There has been an elevated level of interest in Duxburian tariffs and trade policy lately, which is unusual given that I've seen no such action before in the past 9 years at the helm, but I will explain how these items work again, to the best of my limited English-speaking abilities.

    The Duxburian Union levies tariffs on other nations by default, and does not offer free movement. The default rates vary from 5% to 25%, depending on specific item classification. The tariff schedule is available online at httpx://www.trade.gov.du. Free trade only exists if negotiated in a formal deal by a so-authorized representative of the federal government, and approved by the Dominion Council. Arbitration of trade disputes is set per the terms of each agreement. Currently, there is limited free trade (industry-specific) in place with Angleter, the United Kingdom, the Druxmund Occupation Zone in Dromund Kaas, and the Recovery Zone in Neo-Venetia. The list is certainly open to expansion and talks to do that may already in motion, this is just what exists at the moment.

    Why doesn't the Duxburian Union engage in free trade as a default? Because it's 824 and we're in the Information Age, which has blown away many long-standing economic regimes. It's possible to transfer your entire wealth between countries in 2-5 seconds. It's possible to operate a multinational company without a single office. It's possible to alter the course of world events with your smartphone. The internet does not brake for national borders or national laws. Knowledge has truly become power, power that can be wielded by the large and the small alike.

    We all know how cheap, unskilled labor unbalances economies through outsourcing. But, have you considered the power of cheap, high-skilled labor, which becomes possible with information age economies? A nation like Framptonia with good economic stats and a relatively small population is a smart one. Their high-skilled labor is what you will compete with if you grant them free trade. Their cheaper labor encourages the loss of white collar jobs, tech companies, and others that would normally be considered entrenched in your economy or within your comparative advantages. That cheaper labor depresses middle and upper class salaries in your own labor market. Your entire standard of living risks being dragged down, and you risk immiseration even in a growing economy. Your companies may profit, but your population steadily loses income and purchasing power. This is why the Duxburian Union strongly prefers trade with similar economies and exchange rates to itself, where the competition for talent flows in both directions and where both labor markets have salary parity. These arrangements are in the best interest of both trading partners, neither seeks to exploit the other.

    Another issue I wish to address - every country has the right to manage its trade policies. Adjusting tariffs is not a "punitive action", or an "attack on sovereignty". They are not designed to punish other countries, or "attack" them in any way. These are our borders and this is our economy, we have the right to manage them. Continued rhetoric that distorts the truth and blows actions out of proportion are unwelcome.

    Finally, I wish to personally apologize to Commissioner Beech for being unable to attend the requested meeting at the Commission. My attendance was cancelled by higher-ups in the government over Framptonia's continued use of overblown terms that do not describe the act of adjusting tariffs. I wish global trade could be conducted harmoniously and for the benefit of all, but this genie cannot be put back in the bottle. The waters ahead are dark and stormy.

    Thank you and goodnight.

    Robert Kligenberg
    Officer of the Treasury and Economic Affairs

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