Tuesday, October 18, 2005
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Can you feel the Hong Kong buzz?
Last week WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said that, "the engines [of WTO negotiations] are buzzing" -- mostly because of a U.S. proposal to reform its domestic price supports for agricultural goods.
Lamy has an ambitious timetable in the run-up to the December Hong Kong Ministerial conference:
Well.... the problem is that the U.S. isn't the only country that needs to make concessions.
There's the European Union, for example. Deutsche Welle is not optimistic:
And then there's the rest of the world -- particularly the developing countries. In the Financial Times, Alan Beattie is not optimistic:
Lamy is correct -- his timetable for negotiations is not impossible.
But with this constellation of interests, it's pretty damned improbable.posted by Dan on 10.18.05 at 04:37 PM
Dan, the lack of comments on this thread should suggest where trade liberalization is on Americans' collective radar screen: it isn't.
I'd like it if the Bush administration -- or anyone else, really -- used the deficit as a means of justifying cuts in, for example, farm program spending while defending negotiations in Hong Kong as a means of getting something from other countries in exchange for spending cuts we would need to make anyway. But no one is even thinking like that, let alone talking like that.
So it looks like Rob Portman is pretty much on his own. I don't disagree with his gambit, but in reality there is little support in the United States for cutting farm supports even if other countries cut theirs. Senate Ag. Committee Chairman Chambliss even proposed, in exchange for some token reductions in this years ag spending, to extend authorization for existing farm programs until 2011 -- in other words, four years beyond the point at which the 2002 farm bill is scheduled to be reauthorized.
Trade liberalisation in agriculture would mostly benefit third-world
Plus with europe opposed it's just not going to happen.posted by: Mark on 10.18.05 at 04:37 PM [permalink]
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