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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Fair Trade or Free Trade

Today, Laurent Fabius will try to convince French Socialists that the EU is an evil Anglo Saxon plot. It is inhabited by free market liberals who are out to destroy the French way of life. As it happens one of those alleged Free Marketeers is today explaining the dastardly liberal trade policy in that organ of the Anglo Saxon imperialists, The Guardian.
My mission, as Europe's new trade commissioner, is to make trade fair for the many, not just free for the few. By fairness, I mean enabling all countries, including the poorest, to share in rising global prosperity.
Free trade for the few is an oxymoron, its hardly free unless its for the many, but I welcome the idea of helping poor countries to share in globalizations gains.
Europe must never pursue protectionist policies that help the richer countries in the face of this new competition.
Peter failed the first question. Protectionist policies do not help any countries. Never mind his heart is in the right place.
But for poorer countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, free trade is not such a magic wand.
Of course working institutions, the rule of law and property rights are important, but allowing greater access to our markets will still make an improvement. Besides, protectionism is a way of the ruling elite to help their friends, so free trade boosts democratic accountability. This magic wand argument is akin to saying that stopping smoking will not cure lung cancer, so the patient does not need to stop.
But open trade cannot take place before the framework for economic development is in place.
We believe in it for the future. Not now.
In August, Europe made its historic commitment to reform the common agricultural policy and sweep away export subsidies in agriculture as long as other rich countries, particularly the US and Japan, do the same.
Is it just me or is there a touch of playground in this posturing. We will only stop a damaging and expensive programme if they do it as well. What happened to leading by example. As for historic commitment, how much exactly was the budget decreased, oh yes, 0% until 2013.
Even where European markets are open, obstacles can still stand in the way of access: exacting standards of food safety and rules of origin, for example. We should offer more help to the poorest countries to comply.
Peter, I know that you are new to the job, but the point of these exacting standards is to protect Europes farmers Therefore helping competitors to meet them would be illogical. Screwing competitors or abolishing the standards are the only two logical options. One of them is immoral and the other enlightened, the choice is yours. Sorry that should read the choice is to be made by the French Government.
We cannot maintain old arrangements with, for example, an EU sugar price almost three times the world price.
Get that, there we have a great example of why the EU is a bad idea. Everyone agrees on a programme, rightly or wrongly and the programme is implemented. Later on either because the choice was wrong or because things have changed, the programme is seen to be a mistake. But now we cannot agree to abolish it. Sustained resistance by a small number of countries can stop any change. So we have the ratchet effect. The only release is when it breaks completely. Of course Nanny probably likes the idea that sugar is expensive it stops us horrible fat citizens from eating even more and spoiling his lovely hospitals with our fat sweaty bodies. So there you have it. The evil capitalist Peter Mandelson who is the hope of some and the fear of many. If this is what the French believe is a threat to their civilization, I cannot imagine a day when to be a liberal in France will not be a crime against humanity. Lets divorce these statist peasants before they sap our freedom completely.

1 comment:

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