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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Europe's answer to poverty

From Eurosoc French president Jacques Chirac has become the most prominent figure to call for a global tax to combat poverty. Just an idea Jacques, you may not like it or think it is a good plan, but I have an alternative. Why not scrap the common agricultural policy and allow poor countries to sell their produce in Europe. Believe me, it would have a much bigger impact than any Tobin (or Chirac) tax ever would. In case you don't believe me, here is a much more credible voice than mine, focusing on just a very small portion of the CAP. Developing countries figure prominently in the ranks of losers from CAP-sponsored sugar dumping. Translated into foreign-exchange losses, world-market distortions associated with EU sugar policies cost Brazil $494m,Thailand $151m, and South Africa and India around $60m each in 2002. These are large losses for countries with significant populations living in poverty, acute balance-of-payments pressures, and limited budget resources. So what is it to be Jacques? Care for the poor or votes from the farmers?

3 comments:

Nosemonkey said...

Good point, well made. It certainly is about time to sort out the CAP - probably the EU's single biggest failure, I can't deny it.

However, opening up the EU market to third world nations probably wouldn't make that much of an impact in itself, as they'd likely find transport costs prohibitively expensive and wouldn't be able to compete with local produce (which would, under any kind of CAP reform, almost certainly remain subsidised). I mean, have you noticed the price of "Fair Trade" coffee? It's extortionate in comparison to the often equally decent "unfair" alternatives...

What would certainly make a difference is if the EU stopped dumping its surplus on poorer nations, thus driving down prices and making it practically impossible for the local agrarian economies to flourish. There have been suggestions that the EU's surplus produce could be given away as aid, but that wouldn't help stimulate depressed third world economies either. It's the whole "give a man a fish" scenario all over again.

In any case, nice to see another Euroblogger, even if I imagine we probably disagree on more issues than not...

Europhobia

WellFancyThat said...

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where I've provided free articles related to forex currency trading. Good job and thanks.

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