Monday, July 28, 2008

China and India helping to derail world trade talks

Associated Press is reporting that China and India are calling for INCREASES in agricultural protectionism, wanting the powers to increase tariffs if there is a significant increase in imports. They ironically have been seeking higher cuts in subsidies and protection from the EU and the US, whilst not wanting to reciprocate in opening up their own markets for agricultural or manufactured goods sufficiently.

WTO Chief Pascal Lamy has been trying to negotiate a deal that would include significant reductions in limits of EU and US spending on agricultural subsidies, while developing countries would cut manufactured goods tariffs by 20-25%.

Meanwhile, the French, Italians and Irish farmers, piggies supping at the trough of the EU Common Agricultural Policy are objecting to the modest compromise proposals.

If ever there was a time when the world needed to open up trade, and get rid of inefficient cost-plus subsidies and barriers to trade, it is now. European farmers have lived long enough off the back of the European taxpayers and consumers. Export subsidies should end immediately, quotas and other barriers to imports should also end, and existing subsidies phased out in a three year transition. Then, and only then, can European farmers deserve to not be called bludgers.

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