Reader Dan found this article in the NYT on the WTO GATS Doha round and agricultural tariffs:
There are disputes pitting Europe against the United States, rich countries against poor countries, and farming countries against industrial countries.
But a major new factor in the deadlock is a global economic realignment that has vaulted China, India and Brazil into the top tier of the world’s emerging markets, much to the concern of other developing countries like Mexico, Chile and Thailand.
India and Brazil are refusing to lower their tariffs out of fear of export-driven economies like China’s. A second tier of developing countries that are trying to compete with India and Brazil are complaining that they are being shut out by India, Brazil and other rapidly developing countries. Meanwhile, the poorest of the poor countries in Africa and elsewhere charge that the richer emerging market economies, which portray themselves as champions of the poor, are actually ignoring their needs.
Reader Dan wrote a letter to the author, NYT reporter Steven Weisman:
As you write about the Doha negotiations, it occurred to me there are several ways to look at them. Sort of day to day and reporting official comments, or also writing an investigative series about several issues important for readers to understand the direction the agreements are taking us. Because GATS and other agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, AUSTR, and a number of bi-lateral agreements use similar language, they form an interlocking network of rules that should be raising eyebrows if only for the US and Canada represent big changes for peoples’ lives. These are NOT simply issues of freer trade versus protectionism. Each country has special interests to appease internally, but use high sounding moral speech to cover the real money issues involved. More importantly, if the Deregulation language is approved from VI.4, and eventually used with other treaties, profound changes in our own governments are in store. V was about comparative advantage, not the latest rounds.
Weisman responded… he seems to be in agreement.