Summers: Government Policies Have Made Formula Situation Worse

During an interview aired on Friday’s edition of Bloomberg’s “Wall Street Week,” Harvard Professor, economist, Director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama, and Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton Larry Summers stated that if state governments had better procurement rules, “we would be in a better position, with respect to infant formula today.” And criticized the high tariffs on infant formula.

Summers said, “We should be pushing for vigorous competition. Probably the single most important instrument the government has for promoting competition in key industries is maintaining open markets, in which foreign companies have access to U.S. markets and can compete with U.S. producers, and which, in return for that, U.S. producers get more access to foreign markets. Trade liberalization is central to having competition in the economy, and it should be at the front of any kind of competition policy. If we had not had 17.5% tariffs on infant formula, we would be in a much better position, with respect to that issue today. If governments had more sensible procurement policies, with respect to infant formula at the state level, we would be in a better position, with respect to infant formula today. So, yes, I applaud the administration’s emphasis on competition policy. But that means we’ve got to respect all competitors who can help American households.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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