Peter Marklund

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Sun August 10, 2003

Wests Trade Barriers Keep Hurting Third World

The International Herald Tribune (New York Times) writes:

If it weren't killing them, people in Burkina Faso might get a good laugh at America's unprofitable cotton-growing obsession. Burkinabe, after all, are known for their sense of humor. And what could be more absurd than the sight of the world's richest nation - a fiery preacher of free-trade and free-market values at that - spending $3 billion or $4 billion a year in taxpayer money to grow cotton worth less than that and selling its mounting surpluses at an ever greater loss?

Europe has similar, and probably more extensive, barriers to agricultural trade that are just as harmful and economically non-sensical as those of the US. I never understood the consistency in making farmers exempt from competition when none of our other industries enjoy this privilege.

Above all, I would have thought that the obvious fact that those barriers are a significant impediment to third world development would make not only trade friendly liberals, but also leftists and greens, realize how evil they are.

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