Sunday, October 28, 2007

More trade is good. Cotton

The United States got spanked for subsidizing cotton and deserved it. Brazil took us to the World Trade Organization and won. We have already removed some of the subsidies. Brazil was big enough that we had to take them seriously, but much of the benefit will be small, poor African countries including Mali and Burkina Faso. And we will benefit because trade barriers cause inefficiencies. BBC reports, quoting a Brazilian official:
"The truth is that it takes a bigger country to really make the US comply, because the market has to be big enough that the US is worried about it."
In other news: "US attacks unfair trade practices"
The US has said more than 60 of its main trading partners engage in unfair practices and that copyright theft in China remains its main concern.
This is from the same person - the US Trade Representative - who fought vigorously to protect US cotton subsidies. I wouldn't want that assignment - to speak out of both sides of my mouth.

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