Tropical Trade Winds


Earlier this month in Brazil, a conclave of Latin American and Arab leaders declared that the world's trade rules "widen the gap between developed and developing countries." From Tarek El-Tablawy's report in Business Week:

Pushing a goal he has pursued since becoming the country's first elected leftist leader, [Brazilian president Lula] urged participants to fight for free trade rules that improve life for the developing world's masses instead of benefiting just wealthy nations and corporations.

While the leaders stressed commitment to protect intellectual property, the declaration said "intellectual property protection should not prevent developing countries from [access to] basic science [and] technology."

Given the gathering's leftward tilt, it's interesting that the one example El-Tablawy gives of a change they'd like to enact would make the global economic order less restrictive, not more so. The AP's dispatch cites another area where the summiteers are less statist than the global establishment: agriculture subsidies.

The AP also reports that the leaders endorsed "an agreement between the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Mercosur, a South American economic bloc, leading to negotiations for a free trade area linking the two regions." That brings the world somewhat closer to Lula's 2003 proposal that the developing nations form a trade zone of their own.

You can download the full Declaration of Brasilia here. As you'd expect, the document is a mixed bag. The most interesting thing about it is that it exists at all.