What About Africa?

February 15, 2013

The US and the EU are entering trade talks which are regarded by trade experts as potentially highly beneficial to both parties. This is a good thing in that removing tariffs, subsidies, and red tape can only be beneficial to the exporters from both sides of the Atlantic and for their populations. Some estimate the benefit of such adjustments to enhance trade could remove an average of 10% of costs of products being traded.  This could certainly boost demand and improve the economies in the US and the EU.

All of that is good, but there is a concern: For those countries which are not included in these talks (the rest of the world), if demand in the US and the EU is met even more by trade exchanged between the two, it is likely there will be less imported into the US and the EU from other nations. It is not rational to assume that all the increased sales will be incremental and that none will be substitutional.

Why can’t such talks be world encompassing? What is wrong with the “Doha” rounds in terms of resolving long festering issues of fairness? Why can’t the US and the EU begin to reduce the agricultural subsidies they are providing within their borders and give the famers of sub-Saharan Africa a chance to do some real poverty alleviation. There hasn’t been much in that part of the world in the last thirty years.

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