Posted on July 30, 2008
The global trade talks, know as the Doha Round, collapsed yesterday, eliciting yawns from most Americans, and cheers from a few.
In Mexico, drug cartels have taken to killing innocent bystanders who get in the way. They don’t want eyewitnesses.
Food prices continue to climb in America, rice scarcity is a huge problem in certain parts of Asia, and famine is making its perennial appearance in certain parts of Africa.
Nancy Pelosi continues to refuse to schedule the Columbia Free Trade agreement, an effort to help farmers export their legal products to the United States.
And America is poised to elect its first protectionist President in decades.
Free trade is not popular in the United States. But without it, American consumers would pay much higher prices at home for most products, and American manufacturers, like Caterpillar, Boeing, and American car companies like Ford, would not be able to export as much of their products, hurting job creation here in the States.
Barack Obama has seized on that sentiment. He is against free trade for all the right political reasons, but for all the wrong policy reasons. Unnoted on his world tour was how Obama’s trade policies make European leaders very, very wary. Same with our allies to the north (Canada) and to the South (Mexico, Columbia), who are terrified that Obama will try repeal NAFTA.
It is said that Doha collapsed because the US was too hard line in its negotiations. Actually, Brazil, India and China figure that cutting a deal now when we might get a President who wouldn’t support free trade is silly. Might as well see who will win in November.
The battle here is not between free trade and fair trade. The battle here is between the legitimate marketplace and the black market.
The black market is thriving. Because of the ridiculous subsidies given to American and European farmers, farmers in Columbia, Afghanistan and other countries turn to cocaine and heroin production, flooding America and Europe with the drugs that kill.
The marketplace is also flooded with counterfeits and fake products that endanger the safety of our kids. Only trade rules that come from negotiations between countries on global scale can bolster the legitimate marketplace and crowd out the black market.
Trade between countries is an essential element to economic growth. Trade should be embraced and not feared. The collapse of Doha should be jeered not cheered.