Saturday, July 31, 2004

BBC NEWS | Business | World trade talks reach agreement

I blogged about the demise of the Cancun trade talks quite a while back. It's good that an agreement has been reached no matter how tentative and how much more negotiation will have to take place. After all, the Uruguary Round in 1994 came years after negotiations to transform what had been know as GATT (General Agreeement on Trade and Tarrifs) into the WTO we all know and (I) love today.

While it is indeed good that agricultural export subsidies will be cut, one hopes that this might be the beginning of the end for the CAP (Common Agricultural Program) in its current form. After all, it has the singular distinction of not meeting a single bit of any its proposed aims e.g. preservation of the countryside, small scale farming etc. Insteed it costs the EU billions of euros in higher food prices, the money goes to the big firms instead of the small rural farmers, it poisons the land because of over intensive farming in inappropriate places and it keeps the LDCs poor because their basic comparitive advantage is in agriculture. Question of the day: Why is foreign aid good but not imports?

Indeed one hopes that it might go further and truely bring in the rest of the so-called Singapore Issues (so named after the issues brought up when the WTO was in town) and in particular making it easier for the movement of capital and investment around the world.



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