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July 24, 2007

A Decent Tory Policy At Last

Only two quibbles with this obviously sensible policy:

In our view, Real Trade would require rich countries to do five things: open their markets unilaterally to the products of all low-income countries; liberalise the "rules of origin" that result in 40 per cent of imports that should enter Europe tariff-free paying duties; give incentives to reduce the high tariff barriers between developing countries; abolish export subsidies that damage Third World agriculture; and give more Aid for Trade to help poor countries develop their exports.

In what way is this an advance on what is already done? Can't remember what the Lome convention is now called, but doesn't it include tariff free access for the poor? Or is it still restricted?

The other one is why is such unilateral free trade restricted to poor nations? Why not everyone?

One slight sadness: this is one of those stories that Owen Barder would obviously be able to comment upon usefully. As we all know, given the Mail's attack upon him, he no longer blogs. Thanks a lot guys.

July 24, 2007 in Trade | Permalink


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Well it would require the abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy for starters...

...they're dreaming aren't they. Most of that package would require massive structural changes to the EU (or complete withdrawal).

In any case the Lome Convention was effectively terminated in 2000 by a US application to the WTO, and things will be regulated from next year by the Cotonou agreement, which offers less favourable terms and comes loaded with conditions, especially around good governance.

The problem with the Cotonou accord is that for all it provides for reciprocal tariff-free trade between the EU and developing countries it does nothing to remove EU agricultural subsidies, making it a very unequal deal.

Posted by: Unity | Jul 24, 2007 8:46:37 AM