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Author Topic: Trade still "free", not yet fair
NDB
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1234

posted 22 June 2003 04:15 PM      Profile for NDB     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Trade deadlock persists

Ah, who doesn't love living in the rich industrialized West? Well, shit like this makes me furious.

quote:
The latest round of trade talks has broken up with the stalemate between rich and poor on agriculture unbroken - but with a slim hope that progress could be made on making vital drugs cheaper for developing countries.
I guess we can say GO DRUGS!

From: Ottawa | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 22 June 2003 05:13 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Agriculture shouldn't even be on the table at these trade negotiations. All countries regardless of GDP size should be able to protect their agricultural sectors and orient them for domestic production and consumption.

The ridiculous spectacle of the United States dumping agricultural produce into countries like Ghana boggles the mind. Even though the US farmers get paid in US dollars, they can still undercut the cost of production in Ghana after factoring in transportation costs, and boom, there goes the domestic farming sector in Ghana.

And drugs? Come on. This is just another skirmish in the pitched battle by corporations to intellectual-propertize everything so that pretty soon I'll have to Breathe(TM) and pay a royalty every time I Breathe(TM) Air(R).

[ 22 June 2003: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3838

posted 22 June 2003 11:08 PM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just to give a small taste of the kind of appalling treatment poor countries receive at the hands of us rich folks, consider one form of trade barrier called a "tariff peak":

quote:
These charges, levied at rich-country ports, get higher with the amount of processing that an imported product has undergone. Peanuts? We charge you, assuming that this is an American port, x. Peanut butter? We charge you x plus 132 percent. Our peanut-butter companies do not appreciate competition, you see. Canada, Japan, and the E.U. all use tariff peaks to keep out processed foods and other manufactured products. The result is to prevent poor countries from adding any value to their raw commodities -- to prevent them, that is, from achieving even the primary stages of industrial development.

-- from "The Economics of Empire" by William Finnegan, in the May 2003 issue of Harper's. (Great article. Not available online, unfortunately.)

The fact that politicians who engage in such behaviour can then turn around and preach, apparently without shame, about the virtues of "free trade" and "free markets" is simply mind-boggling. Are they really that cynical, or do they genuinely not see any contradiction between their words and actions?

Bastards.

[ 22 June 2003: Message edited by: beluga2 ]


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 23 June 2003 12:47 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The model of protectionism I use actually would exempt raw materials and place tariffs on manufactured goods in order to stimulate domestic production "at home" by weaning countries away from export orientation and (with some exceptions, like Canada) concomitant deprivation of the domestic population's standard of living.

However, this model also presupposes that industrial nations will not then turn around and use "dumping" to flood the domestic producers out of the market.

This is why my model also requires that all nations be on an equal footing when it comes to who can set tariffs on what. Otherwise we suck raw materials out of Third World countries and then dump cheap agricultural produce on them and wonder why we're not appreciated.

[ 23 June 2003: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3336

posted 23 June 2003 01:40 AM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
" . . . do they genuinely not see any contradiction between their words and actions? "
______________________
I suspect, for most, that is exactly the case.

From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

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