Estados Unidos se pega un tiro en un pie

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La industria norteamericana de automóviles será una de las más perjudicados coiné las medidas arancelarias del gobierno de Trump.

La guerra comercial de Trump

Alberto Acevedo

Tras los encuentros de grandes líderes mundiales con el presidente de los Estados Unidos, en diversos escenarios europeos la semana pasada, la sensación de inestabilidad política y económica que recorre varios ámbitos internacionales, proviene principalmente de las decisiones erráticas que está tomando el señor Donald Trump, optando por una vía ultranacionalista que no coincide con las reglas del juego de los mercados, establecidas por la Organización Mundial del Comercio, OMC, como tampoco con las grandes inversiones transnacionales.

El hecho más significativo es la denominada “guerra comercial” que la administración norteamericana le ha declarado a China, Rusia, Alemania, la Unión Europea y prácticamente todos los países del mundo. Confrontación que calificados economistas han denominado la “mayor guerra comercial de la historia comercial hasta la fecha”.

En efecto, a partir del 6 de julio pasado Estados Unidos comenzó a aplicar aranceles sobre 34 mil millones de dólares anuales de importación de productos chinos, especialmente tecnología de punta. La idea de Trump es que este incremento ascienda a 50 mil millones de dólares anuales.

Un boomerang

Anteriormente, la Casa Blanca había impuesto medidas similares contra una serie de productos rusos, y amenazó con que Alemania podría convertirse en la siguiente víctima comercial de Estados Unidos, al aumentar el gravamen sobre la exportación de automóviles europeos a Estados Unidos, medida que afectaría también a México, donde Volkswagen, Audi, BMW y Daimler producen automóviles que se venden en el mercado norteamericano.

Las reacciones a esta inusitada ofensiva proteccionista no se han hecho esperar. La primera en hacerlofue la Unión Europea, que indicó que daría un tratamiento igual a los productos importados desde Estados Unidos. China por su parte dijo estar obligada a imponer represalias para defender los intereses fundamentales del país y de su población. La soya, el sorgo, los automóviles, las cabezas de cerdo y el whisky norteamericanos, están entre los primeros productos sancionados por el gran mercado chino.

Rusia también anunció aranceles suplementarios, del orden del 25 al 40 por ciento a productos norteamericanos, y junto con China presentaron demandas ante la Organización Mundial del Comercio.

Repercusiones

Entre tanto, la guerra comercial comenzó a golpear los precios del petróleo y las bolsas de valores. El 11 de julio, el barril de petróleo Brent, referencia de Europa, sufrió una baja de 5.46 dólares, la mayor caída diaria en los dos últimos años. En Estados Unidos descendió en un 5 por ciento. También cayeron las bolsas norteamericanas, que vieron un descenso del 0.88 por ciento en el índice Dow Jones. En la jornada, las bolsas de España cayeron en un 1.57 por ciento, las de Alemania en un 1.53 por ciento y las de Francia en un 1.48 por ciento. En Colombia, el índice Colcap, de la Bolsa de Valores, descendió en un 0.45 por ciento en tanto que las acciones de Ecopetrol fueron las terceras que más se desvalorizaron.

En realidad, las medidas proteccionistas de los Estados Unidos siempre se han producido, incluso por encima de los tratados de libre comercio. Cuando Trump asumió el poder, en Estados Unidos estaban en vigor 1.280 medidas proteccionistas, y en los últimos cuatro años, en el mundo se adoptaron 3.439 nuevas medidas en esta dirección, según estudio de la firma Global TradeAlert.

Caída del comercio mundial

Lo novedoso de las medidas de Trump no es tanto que sean contrarias al libre comercio, que en la práctica no ha existido, o que sean proteccionistas (como lo han sido el resto de potencias), sino que se asumen de una manera unilateral y agresiva, sin tomar en cuenta a la OMC, lo que puede conducir a una auténtica guerra comercial.

Las medidas de Trump no se dan en un clima de mutua concesión o de respeto por las reglas existentes para el comercio internacional. El mandatario se lleva por delante esa normatividad, con el riesgo de que se produzca una caída en cadena del comercio internacional.

En la historia de la humanidad, las guerras comerciales casi nunca resuelven los problemas por los cuales se invocan. En este caso, Trump no va a salvar a los sectores de la economía que dice defender, ni a los trabajadores de esos sectores, que son además su base electoral.

Un ejemplo: la mayoría de las grandes empresas norteamericanas hacen parte de cadenas de almacenes que se distribuyen por todo el mundo. Así, las medidas proteccionistas de Trump generan menos renta efectiva y menos ventas al conjunto de la economía de su país. Además, los nuevos aranceles que por su parte comienzan a imponer China, Rusia, la Unión Europea, golpearán a los sectores que más empleo generan en Estados Unidos, justamente los que apoyan electoralmente a Trump. Es decir, Estados Unidos se está pegando un tiro en el pie.

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