Tariffs and Fairness

In a Wall Street Journal article centered on the way tariffs involved in the People’s Republic of China/US trade “dispute” and the simmering EU/US trade dispute impact a Scottish town, Alistair MacDonald posed a question.

Is it fair for the US, in its pursuit of trade concessions, to hurt smaller businesses that make iconic products in nations such as Scotland?

The question is a non sequitur.  The correction is, “Is it fair to single out particular subgroups for special treatment when addressing the rest of the group or the group as a whole?”

No, of course not.

Or MacDonald’s question is not a non sequitur (other than the business about iconic products, which is irrelevant in any case): the group that, at this stage, should be being addressed is the group known as Great Britain. In that light, it would be both fair and politically sound to exempt Scottish industries from tariffs applied in response to EU trade abuses. Scotland, after all, is first a part of Great Britain, and only through Great Britain a part of the EU.

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