Sunday, June 25, 2006

Free-ish trade...

It is becoming increasingly clear no deal at the WTO will meet US agriculture's approval. All the market access in the world won't mean much until we become competitive in the global marketplace, so many leaders now see any deal as "unilateral disarmament" - as if our own trade barriers/subsidies are helping us somehow.

US producers keep pointing to EU subsidies or trade restrictions in tiny economies and saying, "All the other kids are doing it!".

To me this is like refusing to quit smoking until everybody else quits first. "Unilateral disarmament" should be undertaken for its own sake - because we are not giving weapons - we are giving up economically harmful practices. Trade barriers like our sugar program and production subsidies do not make our agriculture strong - just the opposite.

Especially now that we have made it a law that people must use ethanol regardless of price, and we may not be exporting much anyway -at least corn - this could be a good time to try to kick our subsidy habit.

I think the administration might be thinking along the same lines.

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