Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 2, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

FARM TRADE....Farm subsidies are the Achilles heel of rich country protectionism. Who's worse, the EU or America? Probably the EU, but it's sort of like arguing about whether Hitler was worse than Stalin. It's hard to find anything good on either side.

Still, at least there's irony and humor to be had. Here is what the Economist says about the U.S. position on reducing farm tariffs:

America wants countries with high levels of support (such as those in Europe) to liberalise relatively more than others. The EU wants equal reductions by all.

Heh. Wasn't that exactly the deal breaker when it came to Kyoto? Except then it was the U.S. insisting on equal reductions from everyone, while the EU demanded that the U.S. accept higher reductions because our output of greenhouse gases was far higher than theirs.

For Euro-bashers, the story also contains some good fodder:

[Franz] Fischler himself says that, if the EU fails to come up with a plan for agricultural trade liberalisation, it deserves to be called a political dwarf.

The odds of winning agreement for any kind of serious agricultural trade liberalization are probably nil, so Europhobes will have a nice juicy quote to throw back in Europe's face when the inevitable failure occurs.

I should add that, as usual, it is France blocking progress in this area, and this is one of the reasons that American impatience with France is actually sort of amusing. The other EU countries have to deal with French intransigence at least a hundred time more often than we do, but somehow they manage to make do. If they can keep from exploding, so can we.

Kevin Drum 2:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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