Friday, 6 June 2008
Doha ad infinitum
World trade talks are dull enough even to make only passing mentions in the serious media, let alone getting near the television news. Big Brother need not worry over its ratings.
However, the latest round of trade talks, called Doha after the city at which they were launched, are close to falling over. With the US presidential election in sight, the US trade representative has little wiggle room. Also India and China flex their muscles more these days and are not prepared to do deals. The EU too, as always never keen to give up farm subsidies, is not a leader of the pack.
All in all, the outlook is bleak and it could be years before there is another free trade agreement. All of which is a shame as a new agreement is exactly what the world needs to help it through the bad economic situation in which it finds itself.
The growth of protectionsim is no good for anyone, not poor african farmers who cannot access foreign markets and not UK banks, caught by protectionist US rules.
Still at least Europe is represented by one of our foremost minds and most capable leaders, Peter Mandelson. Surely if anyone can get an agreement going it is an ex-communist, who twice had to leave the UK government on sleaze grounds?
Posted by CityUnslicker