Harvard Economist Prof Robert Lawrence delivered a lecture on Protectionism and free trade, following is a selection of the media coverage for the event.
Economy next: Sri Lanka-style Trump steel taxes slammed; construction, exports, final goods, hit
"In Sri Lanka total tariffs on steel was raised to as much as 90 percent which includes customs duty, cess, port and airport levy, nation building tax, Murtaza Jafferjee head of JB Stockbrokers told a forum organized by Advocata Institute, a Colombo-based think tank."
Daily FT: Harvard economist calls for tariff reforms to increase exports
"There is no rationale for most of these tariffs,” said Prof. Lawrence, adding that historically, imposing tariffs has been more a case of who exerted the most political influence rather than any calculated economic strategy - hence the need for a simplification of the system. “When you increased trade protection, your imports went down, as did your exports,” he said, pointing to a strong correlation internationally between reduced tariffs and increased exports."
The Island: Harvard economist confused by ‘para tariffs’ in Sri Lanka
"However, even when infant industry protection is well–intentioned, it is difficult for governments to know which industries they should protect and to what extent they should do so, because goods and services of such infant industries may never grow up to enter the global market. In many cases, a tax on imports is a tax on exports. Hence tariffs such as these (para tariffs) could hurt the same industries the protectionist measures intend to help", he pointed out."
The Island: Leaders should be able to sell reforms to the ordinary people: Harvard economist
Reforms are best served when political leaders are good at communicating them to the ordinary people in a convincing way, whether they be fiscal consolidation, monetary policy, public spending, collection of state revenue, tariff frameworks or signing of free trade agreements, a Harvard economist said"
Daily News: Protectionist policies hurt Sri Lanka’s economy - Harvard economist
“90 percent of your tariffs should be in the simple schedule, and then there may be some exceptions,” he said. He added that those exceptions should be for firms that actually had long-run growth potential.
Daily Mirror: Tariffs, wrong way to raise revenue: Harvard academic
“What Sri Lanka needs is tariff reforms. What you need is simple and significantly lower tariffs. We are not saying you should move there overnight, in the sense, you need to have a long-term agenda in which you move to a much more simple system with significantly lower tariffs,” Prof. Lawrence said.
Sunday Observer: TARIFFS, NOT A REVENUE RAISING DEVICE - ECONOMIST
“One of the ideas we would like to promote is that Sri Lanka needs tariff reforms, by moving to lower and a simple tariff structure. We are not saying you should move there overnight, but you should have a long-run agenda to move in there gradually.“You might be surprised, but flat tariff rates get you more money than very high tariff rates that cuts off the import lines,” said Professor Lawrence who currently serves as Faculty Chair of The Practice of Trade Policy executive program at Harvard Kennedy School.