Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ce n'est pas bon

From today's Wall Street Journal:

France's passion for food culture and its policy of coddling farmers lies at the heart of a current deadlock in the World Trade Organization's global trade talks. The so-called Doha round of talks, which began in 2001, were designed to boost developing nations; among other things, they want lower barriers to their agricultural exports. France has vowed to veto any deal that doesn't protect its farmers. A pivotal missed deadline April 30 has led to predictions the talks could die by summer if countries including France don't change their stance....

Oxfam believes the EU's tariffs and farm subsidies, which total over €40 billion annually, are harmful to the world's poorest countries. High customs duties keep products from poor nations out of the wealthy EU market. At the same time, EU farmers overproduction is dumped cheaply abroad, driving down global prices and harming farmers in the developing world.