Thursday, September 11, 2003

Oxfam Attacks Subsidies

At the WTO meeting in Mexico, Oxfam is leading a coalition of 21 countries against farm subsidies. During the summer the US and EU held their own bilateral talks to decide how to address the issue of subsidies in preparation for this meeting. It doesn't seem like they're in a rush to make major changes, but at least they're coming to understand that this is the critical next step in reaching any further free trade agreements. It creates an awkward political situation for Republicans, who are generally the strongest proponents of free trade, but who also count on support from agricultural states for almost all of their national political power. It will be interesting to see how that unfolds. It's very encouraging to me to see that the developing nations have been able to come together and rally behind this issue. Hopefully it will pave the way for other alliances in dealing with trade issues.

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