Tuesday, June 03, 2008

UN Secretary General demands free trade in food

According to the NZ Herald UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has come out at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation conference on the right side of the argument about world trade in food.
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He has argued forcefully for:
- An end to export restrictions (so that producers can sell freely to willing buyers, incentivising them to produce more);
- An end to import tariffs and restrictions on food imports (so that consumers in importing countries do not have their prices inflated by protectionism);
- An end to subsidies for biofuels, so that agricultural production for food isn't disadvantaged relative to biofuels;
- Eliminations of taxes that discriminate against farming.
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It's not everything (subsidies for agriculture should go too), but it would go a long way towards easing the problems in world food trade. Even solidly leftwing Brazilian President Lula da Silva has called for the end to agricultural subsidies he said the world would not be facing the food crisis "if developing countries had been stimulated in a free-market context". "The solution - Lula went on - is not protectionism which would slow down demand. The solution is to increase food supply, open up markets and wipe out subsidies in order to meet increasing demand. And for this a radical change in ways of thinking and acting is required".
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He's quite right.
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Far better than the ravings of Sue Kedgley who has gone to argue the opposite at the same conference. Will the mainstream NZ media question her as to why she went to an international conference to argue for policies that hurt the NZ economy and which developing country governments oppose? What credibility does this raving lunatic have?
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Meanwhile Mugabe has gone to spread lies, and has been snubbed by the Italian government and the US (but will NZ do it?). Iranian President and homophobic Islamist nutcase Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has used the FAO meeting to say Israel will disappear and claimed some conspiracy on food and oil prices. I continue to wonder if Jim Anderton, leading the NZ delegation and Sue Kedgley will speak out against these two tyrants.

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