Negotiating Tactics in Cancun

Right now an important meeting of trade ministers is happening in Cancun, Mexico, where they are discussing possible changes to WTO rules. I’ve been worried that the US was going to get taken advantage of in the negotiations, though. So I was glad to read this story from the BBC reporting that US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick knows how to play hard ball with those greedy, selfish developing countries. I’m tired of those poor countries constantly bullying the US and getting their way. It’s about time that we stop them — so don’t give them an inch, Bob!

Rich and poor clash over farm aid

Europe and the United States have been accused of trying to break up a powerful new alliance of poor states bent on rewriting global trade rules.

The Group of 21 (G21), which includes China, India and Brazil, has threatened the traditional dominance of rich countries during world trade talks in Cancun, Mexico.

The G21 is demanding the complete abolition of subsidies paid by rich countries to their farmers which, they say, locks the developing world out of international markets.

But aid agency Action Aid has accused the US delegation at Cancun of attempting to alternately cajole and bully poor nations into leaving the G21 – an accusation the Americans have denied.

The charity claims US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick attempted to bribe some countries into dropping out of the group with trade incentives.

It said Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala had been offered increased trade quotas if they quit the alliance.

The BBC has lots of great coverage of the goings-on there, for those who are interested. Stay tuned…