Doha Round Collapses. Yeah, You Heard Me Right.


Thanks to U.S. truculence over that cornerstone principle of American governance, farm subsidies, the Doha Round of international trade talks has collapsed, the Los Angeles Times reports–amid "bitter recriminations," yet. The U.S. tosses blame back at the European Union for not being open enough to foreign farm products.

The last round of international trade talks, the Uruguay round, similarly fell apart, but after three years a reconciliation and eventual agreement was reached back in 1993.

Read the whole article for further recriminations, beefs over beef, and how disappointed American business interests, ag and not, are over the breakdown.

Business Week a few months back questioned the overall value of an agreement at Doha, and noted that any failure can really be laid at the feet of the developing nations, since

at the insistence of developing countries, Doha largely ignored trade in services, even though many economists believe that the consumer benefits from liberalization of services–from advertising to banking–are far greater than the remaining opportunities in goods trade. That may have been a miscalculation by the poor nations. With little to gain on the services front, the U.S. and Europe have less motivation to budge on the farm and factory issues that developing nations care most about.


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  1. I’m relieved, and touched, really, at how vigorously my government defended my ability to continue paying subsidies to our farmers, and perhaps saved me from too many more choices at the supermarket. Those places are crowded enough.


  2. Is it a hate crime if I go out and burn some bags of subsidized sugar on the lawn of a farmer’s house?

  3. I heard on NPR that the US farmers argued that the third world would get all the benefits becouse they would be able to ship cheap food…funny how US farmers don’t see me the consumer getting cheaper food as a benefit…or resturants getting cheap food as a benefit or food packers as benefiting from cheaper food…funny that.

  4. beef is when you need three gats to go to sleep..

  5. what h-dawg said…

    The Business Week article is probably right on the politics of the situation. It’s depressing, tho, that they couldn’t clearly say anywhere in the article that lowering barriers to trade is a good thing (the gains of the winners are more than the losses of the losers, and furthermore, there are more winners than losers). Lowering our barriers unilaterally would be a good thing, regardless of what any other country does.

    If it’s explained clearly, I think lowering trade barriers could be a popular issue. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago about how almost all the rice subsidies in the US went to a handful of rich families in Louisiana, not the most sympathetic group there is.

  6. erg – that’s the problem, only the wall street journal covers that kind of stuff. Or it’s buried in the business section of the local rag, if they even bother.

    Most people don’t read that kind of stuff. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the internet, I wouldn’t know a lot of that stuff, either, since I hardly ever read the paper, and when I do, it’s the sports section.

    But even on the internet, you’ve got to look in the right places to get the “right” information.

  7. Well, we could look here
    but the average citizen is more concerned with who is having Jessica’s baby.

  8. Recall when WalMart was trying to appeal to the rednecks with their ads? There was this made in Amurika bullshit, which, even us rednecks couldn’t swallow.
    Now, WalMart shoppers know, if it ain’t made in China, they are payin’ too much.
    So, is Doha going through an adolescent WalMart phase? If so Do ha ha ha.
    Send all seeds to China say I. They’ll grow it, and send back the fruit or vegetable, as the case may be.
    (Except for corn seed natcherly. Corn will save us from the clutches of them dastardly Shiites, not to mention Bob Dole’s one-armed clutch/harassment.)

  9. Ayatollah,


    Who’s Jessica?

  10. Fuck fuck fuck. erg-quick econ. lesson I learned: concentrated benefits, diffused costs.

  11. Johanns said the Europeans had proposed to reduce their tariff on most imported beef from 80% to 61%, which he termed “still a remarkable blocking of the market.” Only 160,000 metric tons of beef would be allowed into the European Union annually without the tariff — about 2% of the market.


    And make no mistake, U.S. tariffs are usually just as ridiculous. I would venture a guess to say that 95% of people have no idea how much they are getting screwed by tariffs in their own country.

  12. In the Christian Science Monitor today is an article speculating about the effect on corn prices from increased ethanol production. (hint: they do not anticipate that prices will collapse)

    Luckily for us, we have in place a strong defense against the Haitian sugar cane which could be used as a more efficient source of ethanol production.

  13. SR, in a later thread (yet in the past–time travel is so weird), I advocate(d) reviving the Sons of Liberty to harass politicians. Among my suggestions is(was) that we dump subsidized sugar into Boston Harbor.

  14. Pro,

    I like the Boston Sugar Party idea, but I think you underestimate the foe. The original Sons of Liberty had to deal with “swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

    But they didn’t have the EPA (or MassDEP, or MWRA, the Coastal Zone Management office, etc.), which the politicians you’re most interested in harassing would undoubtedly sic on your ass for dumping into the harbor.

    Good luck, though.

  15. Ah, but dressed as Native Americans, we shall defeat them through a cunning misuse of identity politics: “Why do you continue to oppress us, White Man? Dumping sugar into this harbor is an ancient tradition. We must sue and call the press.”

    I think that’s safer than Jennifer’s plan, which is to hit wayward politicians on the head with a pewter ewer. Full points for directness, though I do wonder whether you might as well skip ahead to armed rebellion. Maybe there’s an ADA angle there or something else like that to hide behind. Or maybe bonk bonk on the head is protected by the First Amendment’s right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  16. It sounds as if the Big Dig’s most likely future may be as a subterranean storage depot for subsidized agricultural products, so you can have your “sugar party” there. Wear your hard hat; you can glue some feathers to it, if you like.

  17. P Brooks, everyone knows that the Big Dig is really intended to house 10,000 people after that asteroid hits us. Therefore, there’s probably not much room for excess sugar. Unless Big Sugar is part of the Big Secret Asteroid Shelter Project. . . .

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