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Free trade? « Previous | |Next »
September 22, 2003

The WTO free trade talks at Cancum, Mexico, failed. The European Union, Japan and the US failed to deliver on a serious reduction in agricultural subsidies and tarrifs.

Australia, the perennial hopeful, was convinced that the historic goal of the complete elimination of export subsidies was in sight. And limited market access and domestic support? Where were they? Just around the corner?

The history of free trade between nations is one of western nations lowering industrial tariffs but protecting their own agricultural for political purposes. They have no intention of opening up their agricultural markets yet they demand that developing nations embrace the Singapore issues (including open investment and competition policy) to facilitate the penetration of foreign capital and a more open trade in services. Bias and power is built into the very design of the international trading system.

Why should developing nations make concessions without Japan, the European Union and the US making major concessions on farm protection?

Will the failure of Cancum mean shift to regionalism in the form of blocs of open trade?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:45 AM | | Comments (0)