Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The latest WTO Doha negotiations

Camaraderie from the frontlines of globalization and 'free trade' .

While we have globalization going on for thousands of years, 'free trade' is like the abominable snowman (or cold fusion) ... some claim to have seen him and he exists in theory, but he has never been captured or studied in practice .

Interesting comment, from France no less:

French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said: "And we in France and Europe say: 'Stop, we can't just open the floodgates and leave the next 14 years to the Chinese to prepare themselves as if they were an emerging country'."

'As if they were an emerging country' .... you can't have the 2nd largest economy in the world and still consider yourself an underdeveloped country, and the leader of the developing nations.

They are on the wrong side of the fence.

This is the same as giving affirmative action to millionaire minorities . Just because you are Asian (and not Japan) doesn't mean you are a developing nation .

July 29, 2008
WTO Talks Close to Collapse Amid Farm Stand - Off
Filed at 7:51 a.m. ET
GENEVA (Reuters) - Talks to rescue a world trade deal were close to collapse on Tuesday over measures intended to help poor countries protect their farmers, trade officials said. (aka 'tariffs' on food imports ... they want the US and Europe to tear away current subsidies while they maintain their own ... free trade !! globalization !!)

Developing countries like China and India are at loggerheads with food exporters like the United States over the issue of safeguards against food import surges, and differences on several other fundamental parts of a deal are also unresolved. (It's OK for China to flood the US with goods and thereby destroying American manufacturing , but it is NOT OK for the US to 'flood' China with food, thereby destroying China's agriculture industry ... free trade !! globalization !!)

Ministers were mulling a new compromise proposal on the safeguards as talks entered their ninth day -- the longest WTO ministerial-level meeting, trade officials said.

Failure remained a real possibility.

"If people don't want this deal, there's no better deal coming along and we just have to consider, if this fails, what they will lose," European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told reporters on his way into the negotiations.

The talks aimed at salvaging the seven-year-old Doha trade round had been "a minute away" from being called off in the early hours of Tuesday over safeguards, one trade official said, but there was no sign of agreement over the new compromise.

"We cannot go on like this much longer," a diplomat said.

But Indonesian Trade Minister Marie Elka Pangestu said: "Some of us are willing to stay as long as it takes. We will stay a few more days if it is necessary."

The negotiations for a global deal trade began in 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks on the United States, in the hope of boosting the world economy and helping poor countries.

They have lurched from crisis to crisis and risk further years of delay without a breakthrough now because of the U.S. presidential election in November and other factors.

Negotiators from the United States, China and India were digging in their heels on the details of a "special safeguard mechanism" against import surges in food products such as rice.

The proposal also pits developing farm exporters like Paraguay and Uruguay against other poor nations who are worried about their farmers' survival, especially in Asia. (free trade !! globalization !!)


China, the world's new export powerhouse, participating in a WTO negotiating round for the first time, accused the United States of making excessive demands on developing countries.
"The crux of the current serious difficulties that have arisen in the Doha round negotiations is that, having protected its own interests, the United States is asking a price as high as heaven," Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming as saying late on Monday.

A U.S. official said Washington could not agree to a deal that would reverse trade openness.
Adding to concerns that compromises last week to rescue the talks could disintegrate, nine EU states -- a third of the total and including EU heavyweight France -- demanded better terms for the bloc on Monday.

But Germany, the world's biggest exporter, remained in favor of a deal, an EU diplomat said.
France has warned that a final deal based on the current proposals might be rejected next year by European capitals.

French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said: "And we in France and Europe say: 'Stop, we can't just open the floodgates and leave the next 14 years to the Chinese to prepare themselves as if they were an emerging country'."

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