BarfBag
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WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:57 am

Apparently the latest round of talks during the WTO summit at Cancun, Mexico, has collapsed. The primary bone of contention was farming subsidies in developed nations, and the opening of the agricultural sectors in developing nations to imports. Yet another issue was that of the efforts on the part of a group of developed nations to add four new items to the WTO agenda - trade & investment, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, and competition policy.

Most developing nations opposed any more to admit these issues for negotiation until the negotiations on agricultural subsidies, pending since 1994, were completed. Some countries, including India, favored discussion of one or more of these issues separately, if the subject of western agricultural subsidies were sorted out. Further, India is pushing for the addition of the subject of free movement of labor, in addition to free movement of capital and goods, since any positive outcome on this front will strengthen India's status as a powerhouse in the information technology sector.

Personally I'm quite glad the talks broke down. Considering the (IMHO) ridiculous and appalling first draft of the summit negotiations, it was obvious the meet was headed down the toilet. India absolutely cannot compromise on its efforts to get western farm subsidies eliminated. 70% of our population lives on agriculture, and no progress can be achieved until they can grow out of the cycle of subsistence and the percentage of those in farming sector is reduced to 5-10% of the population, instead of more than 2/3rds right now.

Agriculture is simply not an efficient means of wealth generation. On the other hand, its well nigh impossible to move people from farming to industry if successive governments are forced by stagnant global agricultural prices to support farmers through artificially high procurement prices. The only way this vicious cycle can be broken is if developing countries are not compelled to bend over backwards to prevent their own agricultural sectors from going belly-up.

The significant effect of agriculture on economic growth in India can be seen from the economic growth rate in the last two years. Last year, thanks to poor rains and stagnant prices, the agricultural output fell 3%, pulling down GDP growth to under 5%. This year, strong rains alone have pushed up agricultural output 5%, and economic growth is project to exceed 7-7.5% . Developing countries like India need years of sustained high agricultural output, not just to feed its people (India is a net food exporter) but to generate wealth, and help industrialization, since weak agricultural output directly affects industrial output.

Thoughts from other members ? Different perspectives would be interesting.
 
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STT757
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Mon Sep 15, 2003 11:15 am

Why the heck are they always holding these WTO , IMF etc meetings in resorts.

I think these folks should concentrate more on their business rather than Skiing (Switzerland) or Snorkling (Cancun), they are supposed to be discussing serious world issues and they go to discuss it in a Spring Break town where Girls gone wild is filmed?..
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fly727
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Mon Sep 15, 2003 5:04 pm

They do it in resorts because no where else they can spend our taxes with such enjoyment.  Smile

I, like almost 700,000 people (Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, Italians, French and Argentineans) who live here Cancun, did not ask WTO to held their meeting here. The benefits of such event are not worth the chaos that the "globaliphobics" (as are called) have created. Grafittis on our monuments, disrespect to public institutions and private property, the disruption in our pacific and yes, very enjoyable life... (not politically correct, but they are not our best visitors).

The reunions are over and the attendants to the meetings are going back home (BTW the airport was heaven with great airplanes like Italy's A320 ACJ, Swedish and their tidy Gulfstream V, Emirates, France...). The only ones staying here, camping in public areas and being a pain in the neck for us are those against the WTO.

Yes, definitely WTO must avoid doing their meetings in Resorts; maybe they should try teleconference, webcam chatting or something like that. Big grin

STT757: CUN is way more than a "Spring Break town where Girls gone wild" was filmed. Unfortunately every other channel after 10:00 pm show nothing more than that videos ads. Too sad if you got your perception after those.

Happy landings.
RM
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
IndianGuy
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Mon Sep 15, 2003 5:45 pm

I dont see why Arun Jaitley is behaving in this churlish manner. I thought the "look mama, i beat up the big boys in school today" mentality was past us eh?

India's interests are best served by dumping the company of the thrid world and ganging up with the US/EU. The world can be our market, and as long as the US/EU agree to share the spoils with us, we shouldnt have a problem with that?

 
bobrayner
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Tue Sep 16, 2003 1:17 am

Why the heck are they always holding these WTO , IMF etc meetings in resorts.

I doubt our elder statesmen give a damn about surfing and snowboarding!

Rather, they'll need somewhere that has lots of first-class hotels; but security would be more difficult, and the disruption caused by protests would be much worse, in a big city.

If you want lots of good hotels but not in a big city, then it's got to be a resort.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

I'm very disappointed that the talks broke down. Whilst I disagree strongly with the respective positions of the EU and US, nobody's going to solve the problem by sitting in a corner and sulking.
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BarfBag
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Tue Sep 16, 2003 1:25 am

I dont see why Arun Jaitley is behaving in this churlish manner. I thought the "look mama, i beat up the big boys in school today" mentality was past us eh?

India's interests are best served by dumping the company of the thrid world and ganging up with the US/EU. The world can be our market, and as long as the US/EU agree to share the spoils with us, we shouldnt have a problem with that?


Absolutely. But then the reason Jaitley was churlish was that the US/EU/Japan were *not* sharing the spoils with us  Smile
 
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yyz717
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 1:49 am

I have to applaud the G21 for standing up to the US, Japan & Europe. Western farmers are the most subsidized businesses in the West. The result is high food prices in the West not to mention poverty in the Third World. Western farmers have political clout that far outweighs their relative economic weight.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
bobrayner
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 1:56 am

I completely agree with you, YYZ717...
(is the sky falling?  Smile)
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aa61hvy
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 5:10 am

My dad attended this meeting, he was not impressed at all, he actually left a day early. He said the one in Seattle was much much better.
Go big or go home
 
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STT757
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:03 am

"STT757: CUN is way more than a "Spring Break town where Girls gone wild" was filmed. Unfortunately every other channel after 10:00 pm show nothing more than that videos ads. Too sad if you got your perception after those."

I know, I've been there a few times. I hope to go back again and again, I especially enjoy Isla Marjules (sp?), Tulum, Chi-chi itza (sp?) and all the great shopping malls.

I was let down by Playa Del Carman, it seem all the Europeans and Canadians stay in that town but it's no where near as nice as Cancun.

Do you have any really nice Riveria Maya resort recomendations? My Girlfriend and I are hoping to go back this Winter and perhaps stay someplace along the Riveria Maya.
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cfalk
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:03 am

Why do they insist of having their meetings where there are millions of people nearby? All they need are a few conferance rooms and an airstrip. Considering all the sh&t these protestors cause at every meeting, they ought to set up their WTO and G8 meetings like Nome, Alaska, or some air force base in Greenland, or St. Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic. Better for all involved, and it prevents accusations that the delegates are having too good a time while they are supposed to be working.

Charles
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DoorsToManual
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:19 am

There was a piece in the Monde Diplomatique (English edition) about how developing countries actually needed protectionism in order to prosper.

To be honest, I get the feeling that if "the World" is incapable of resolving issues such as agricultural subsidies & other trade-related stuff, perhaps these problems should be resolved on a country-by-country basis instead (?)
 
bobrayner
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:38 am

There was a piece in the Monde Diplomatique (English edition) about how developing countries actually needed protectionism in order to prosper.

In a limited sense, on the part of the developing country, maybe.
However, the last thing they need is protectionism by big consumer countries.

perhaps these problems should be resolved on a country-by-country basis instead

Country-by-country decisions on these issues have given us the current set of problems. There would be even worse problems if we didn't already have limited international cooperation on these issues.

As long as European farmers can cry louder to Brussels than third world farmers, they'll continue to be spoonfed by the CAP at the European taxpayer's expense; the same goes for farm subsidies in the USA.

Trade barriers may be easy to sell to voters (protecting our jobs against cheap foreign competition, &c) but they make both parties worse off in the long term.
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BarfBag
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:46 am

There was a piece in the Monde Diplomatique (English edition) about how developing countries actually needed protectionism in order to prosper.

It isn't protectionism as much as a decent domestic industry and market that is needed for development. There are areas where it makes no sense to prop up a domestic industry, and then there are areas where a domestic industry that receives enough time and opportunities to mature, can become viable entities on their own, and even take on outside competitors with deeper pockets. The Indian auto industry is one such example. A decade ago they were the pits, with just three models of cars available, two of them 1950s designs and another a late 1960s design. Now there are about 40 models available, from a Suzuki Alto to a Mercedes S class, and the auto parts industry exports about $2-3 billion worth of goods to everyone from GM to Volvo to Toyota.

To be honest, I get the feeling that if "the World" is incapable of resolving issues such as agricultural subsidies & other trade-related stuff, perhaps these problems should be resolved on a country-by-country basis instead (?)

There are things that can be better resolved bilaterally, and things which are better to be addressed multilaterally. I'd say the $350 billion agricultural subsidies that western farmers receive annually constitute an issue that's best addressed multilaterally. Say Bangladesh wants to take on French agricultural subsidies. By themselves, they'll find it very hard to muster a loud enough voice. But if they're backed by Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Algeria and a whole bunch of other countries, they do carry a lot more weight.

On the other hand, I've always been more partial towards regional blocs when it comes to trade, like NAFTA, EU and ASEAN. A global entity like WTO would just take too long to arrive at a consensus on issues, and would be much more inflexible to economic cycles. The WTO is much more suited as a forum where countries/trading blocs can collectively bargain.
 
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yyz717
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 8:55 am

I completely agree with you, YYZ717...
(is the sky falling? )


It had to happen sooner or later! LOL.



I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
IndianGuy
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 10:42 am


After 5 years of consistent anti-Farmer, anti-Poor policies, the Vajpayee Govt has finally changed its colors! Or has it?

Arun Jaitleys antics at Cancun, impressive though they were, were nothing but a sound and light show put up by the BJP with an eye on the forthcoming elections. This thought process is not surprising, coming as it does from a party that even treats a sensitive issue like the No-Confidence motion as an opportunity for poll-campaigning! But are the people who really matter: the farmers and the poor who make up a large portion of the electorate going to be impressed? Hardly! They are going to put up these latest antics against hard facts: The actual record of this Govt, and that is nothing to write home about!

Lets take a look at the record of this Govt when it comes to Agriculture and the Food situation. 1. Farmers committing suicide especially in Andhra: a direct result of the controversial cash-crop policy. 2.Systematically frittering away the humongous food reserves so carefully built up by previous Congress Governments. 3. Requests for grants from the Central Food Reserves are dependent not on the drought situation, but on the number of votes the State contributes to the fascist alliance at the Centre. So Naidu manages to fritter away the biggest share of foodgrains, event though Andhra is the LEAST AFFECTED state while the most affected state: Rajasthan has not received even 1/10th of its required allocation. Why? Because it is Congress ruled! Ditto for Maharashtra!

Are these policies pro-Poor? This is what the Vajpayee govt has done for the past 5 years. The electorate is not going to be impressed with any sound and light show of the kind that was put up at Cancun. They are going to go by the record of this Government in the past 5 years, which as Manmohan Singh rightly put it have been a “lost opportunity” for the Indian economy.

-Roy


 
bobrayner
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RE: WTO Meet At Cancun Collapses

Wed Sep 17, 2003 7:33 pm

Indianguy,

This is not about the internal politics of any country; continuing to deal with it that way will only stave off the solution.
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