Buying local is more expensive than it looks

RANDY KULL, a businessman based in Illinois, sells traffic signs. His products have international appeal, with signs for anglophones (STOP), Spanish-speakers (ALTO) and horses (WHOA). But for some customers, he must stay local. When America’s Department of Transportation is involved, he must use American-made sign-mounting brackets, and fill in a form confirming their source. Mr Kull’s supplier in Arkansas is happy, but he himself is dubious. “We live in a global economy,” he scoffs. The weight of the evidence backs his instinctive scepticism.

To many, buying local seems sensible—wholesome, even. Keeping money close to home is supposed to foster thriving communities and generate jobs. To the administration of President Donald Trump, it is a source of national strength. Around the world, such sentiments are gaining ground. Global Trade Alert, a watchdog, has picked up 343 examples of new local-content requirements imposed since November 2008. In America, it estimates that the share...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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