MaverickM11
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In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:42 am

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1134...96020251.html?mod=home_page_one_us

"Here's a simplified scorecard for the current impasse in global trade talks: United Parcel Service Inc. is losing; Swiss parsley farmers are ahead."

"That bargain is running into resistance from the likes of Swiss parsley growers, who enjoy a 700% tariff designed to ensure not a foreign sprig gets sold there. Cut a deal, Swiss activists contend, and cheaper agriculture products -- not just parsley, but poultry, milk and cheese -- would flood in, wiping out the picturesque patchwork of farms dotting the foothills of the Alps. "We could never compete," says Heidi Bravo of the Swiss Farmers Union. U.S. agricultural interests, from cotton growers to sugar-beet farmers, make similar arguments"

"BMW AG, which has loaned WTO organizers 250 of its top-of-the line 7-series cars for the Hong Kong event, hopes to make some headway cutting tariff and nontariff barriers in developing markets. Last year, the German car maker sold only 122 cars in India, a market of more than one billion people. That's partly because of fees and tariffs that more than double the price of imported cars. And India won't allow imports of smaller cars, keeping most versions of BMW's top-selling 3-series off the market."

"Norwegian dairy farmer Kari Redse Haaskjold cares for 20 milk cows on a farm in the middle of the country, where rain and snow force her to keep the livestock indoors for at least half the year. The cows are kept in stalls for now, but Oslo's new animal-welfare law will force her to provide her cattle with more covered space to roam. That is only economical, she says, because Norway imposes 400% tariffs on dairy products. Government support makes up about a third of her total income. A Doha agreement limiting those benefits and protections would mean "I wouldn't be able to continue my farm and neither would my children," she says."

Between the obscene tariffs the Western world levies on agricultural goods, and the nonsensical tariffs the developing world levies on all goods, the latter can expect to be behind the curve for a lot longer... Sad. How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed?
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
777236ER
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:53 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):
Between the obscene tariffs the Western world levies on agricultural goods, and the nonsensical tariffs the developing world levies on all goods, the latter can expect to be behind the curve for a lot longer... Sad. How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed?

Quite simply. Western governments should grow some balls and stop giving a lot of my money to a bunch of generally lazy, whining farmers.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
racko
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Gro

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:21 am

It would probably be a lot cheaper to just pay these guys well to build and maintain roads or something than to subsidie their farming. The subsidie hydra is the single biggest problem the EU faces and we lack politicans with the required cojones to end it once and for all.
 
searpqx
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:35 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 1):
to a bunch of generally lazy, whining farmers.

Have you ever worked on a small farm 777236ER? I don't support agricultural subsidies, but I do have some empathy for the small farmer who will suffer the most with the elimination of subsidies. I spent most of the summers in my youth working on my dad's wheat farm in souther Colorado. I can remember lots of things about the farmers in that area (all family owned, from Durango to Farmington), but being lazy is not one of them. To make such a genarlized sweeping statement is flat out wrong.

Elimination of agricultural subsidies really does need to be tackled, but it's so difficult specifically because it will put many family farms out of business. Show me one politician, in any country, who wants to be associated with that. As much as I support it, I don't see how it's going to happen in the near future.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
777236ER
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:47 am

Quoting Searpqx (Reply 3):
Have you ever worked on a small farm 777236ER? I don't support agricultural subsidies, but I do have some empathy for the small farmer who will suffer the most with the elimination of subsidies.

Perhaps, but if their industry isn't viable, the tax payers shouldn't prop them up, at the expense of people who are MUCH worse off.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
searpqx
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:53 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 4):
Perhaps, but if their industry isn't viable, the tax payers shouldn't prop them up, at the expense of people who are MUCH worse off.

We're in agreement there - I just took exception to your catorigazation of all farmers as lazy whiners - the very nature of family farms requires large amounts of labor. Like I said, I have empathy for their plight - doesn't mean I want to continue to foot the bill.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
 
MaverickM11
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:30 am

Quoting Searpqx (Reply 3):
I do have some empathy for the small farmer who will suffer the most with the elimination of subsidies

I don't. They've known their increasingly worthless neck has been on the chopping block for years and yet they've done nothing to either diversify their position or get out of farming entirely. It's the same with the EU textile employees. They've had over a decade to prepare for changes in textile tariffs. Have they done anything about it? Of course not! When the day of reckoning approached, they screamed bloody murder as if they had no idea the tariffs were going to dissipate. It's absolutely irresponsible and shameful.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
jaysit
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:14 pm

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 4):
Perhaps, but if their industry isn't viable, the tax payers shouldn't prop them up, at the expense of people who are MUCH worse off.

No one in Congress has the guts to repeal farm subsidies. The political party that does it, will in essence shoot itself. The GOP sure isn't going to, and the Dems will keep supporting farm subsidies in their usual lame and futile attempt at making inroads in the largely Republican leaning farm states.

And lets not get carried away. Those farmers aren't lazy. But no one is going to look a gift horse in the mouth in the form of farm subsidies.

Ag subsidies have been a sticking point in the trade talks, with India being the most vociferous opponent of farm subsidies so far.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
kiwiandrew

RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:19 pm

the irony is that a lot of the subsidies dont even go to the small farmers - but to huge agri-businesses - there is an excellent article in last weeks Economist about the EU's nonsensical Common Agricultural Policy - public sentiment in France supports it because they believe ( and have been told by the French Govt ) that it keeps the small farmers going - in fact the bulk of the money goes to a handful of big companies . In New Zealand they eliminated farm subsidies years ago , the farmers predicted doom and gloom , but in fact what happened was that they had to get cleverer - a lot of them diversified into homestays and niche products - they are doing better than ever without taxpayer handouts ( of course they would do better still if the EU and the US played fair and did the same )
 
slider
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:50 pm

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 7):
No one in Congress has the guts to repeal farm subsidies. The political party that does it, will in essence shoot itself. The GOP sure isn't going to, and the Dems will keep supporting farm subsidies in their usual lame and futile attempt at making inroads in the largely Republican leaning farm states.

Very good point Jaysit...

Heck, the size differential is something that we're having to contend with in the US as well, forget the added complexity of international differences.

The mega dairy farms for example, in California, have a greater output and more efficient than say, small family dairy farms in Wisconsin. The economic impact is huge.

I'm a huge non-interventionist and general anti-regulatory guy, but in this instance, I'd really like to see international cooperation on a universal agreement on tariffs.

Farmers need to adapt as well, and it's not that some aren't willing--or able--but the system is so byzantine.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: In Trade Talks, Western Farmers Hold Their Ground

Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:26 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 9):
Farmers need to adapt as well, and it's not that some aren't willing--or able--but the system is so byzantine.

How can they argue? They're getting paid to do work (or sometimes, not work) that no one needs done.
E pur si muove -Galileo

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