I have long said that the Department of Commerce should be renamed the Department of Cronyism. First, apart from the Census Bureau and the Patent and Trademark Office, the department mostly functions as a one-stop shop for special interests. Second, in a conflict between consumers and producers, the department always seems to side with the shareholders of large corporations.
The latest example of such behavior is edifying. Last week, as part of a preliminary determination in a countervailing duty investigation, the Commerce Department decided to slap a 220 percent duty on Canadian plane-maker Bombardier to protect its American boy Boeing against "unfair competition." As if that weren't enough, the Commerce Department is expected to announce other duties in a companion anti-dumping case soon. The decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission about whether the duty orders will be imposed is expected in early 2018.
According to a complaint filed by Boeing, Bombardier is distorting trade with the sale of a new series of passenger planes to Delta at a price -- $19.6 million -- that Boeing alleges is well below the $33 million that the planes should have cost. Boeing also complains that it's unfair because Bombardier is getting help from Canadian taxpayers and, hence, getting an edge over the competition in that market, writes Veronique de Rugy in her latest column for Reason.