• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Free Trade: Bringing Ireland to Your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

    Cheng Li/ZUMA Press/Newscom

    Today, millions of people around the world will put on some green, watch a hurling or rugby match, enjoy a Guinness stout, and praise St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Emerald Isle. A beam in Guinness’s Dublin brewery reads “Everyone’s Irish on March 17th.” And, thanks to free trade, all Americans can feel Irish today, too.

    Tariff rates on the products necessary for a true Irish celebration are free or nearly free. As you prepare an Irish feast of potatoes and bacon and cabbage, remember that trade is not only helping to deliver those items to your table but also bringing them there at a low cost.

    U.S. tariff rates on pork and corned beef are free, and if you want to import canned pork from Ireland, it’s a low 8 cents per kilogram. For all you kids out there, the tariff on cabbage is 10 percent, making it just that much more expensive for your parents to purchase.

    Even those headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for Mass today should rejoice. Thanks to free trade, there is no tariff on the import of religious goods. This means that the church can spend less on the St. Patrick’s Day Mass and more on helping the community.

    St. Patrick’s Day revelers haven’t always been this “lucky.” In 1994, before tariff rates were lowered under the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, imports from Ireland were more expensive. That year the U.S.government collected more than $78 million in tariffs on goods from Ireland, adding on average 2.7 percent to the cost of your 1994 St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Today that rate is 0.0007 percent.

    As the U.S. attempts to negotiate two major free trade agreements—one with the European Union and one with Asian allies—it is important to keep in mind that free trade, both exports and imports, is good for everyone. After all, who wants to pay more for St. Patrick’s Day?

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×