Monday, May 01, 2006

It’s like intervening on a drunk

The Washington Post published an editorial of uncharacteristic opinion and subject – the Doha round. Were not so much global economic activity not tied to it, it would hardly be their usual cup of tea.

The item was titled Rescuing Trade. Excerpts:

The chief obstacle to a deal is the European Union, driven by countries with highly protected small farmers – Ireland, Poland and, above all, France. Last year the Bush istration proposed cuts in farm subsidies that, even after stripping out the accounting tricks, amounted to a genuine concession. It was then up to the European Union to reciprocate, but removing such tricks from the proposal left virtually nothing of substance. When negotiators tried to shoft the Europeans at the Hong Kong meeting, French President Jacques Chirac personally called officials to ensure that progress would be blocked.


Where they have alluded to French obstructionism, they have been quick to add that the US farm offer is not perfect...

These qualifiers are true; but the larger truth is that French farm politics is the single biggest holdup.
The Post which is normally the protectionist when it comes to any critic of Bush said further of Chirac:
He needs to be made to feel that things he cares about – France’s reputation as a friend of Africa, France’s close political ties with Germany – will suffer if he allows the Doha round to die.

The fuse is lit!

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