What's does the Doha Round agricultural negotiation have to offer a large emerging economy like Brazil's:
The EU made its new agricultural proposals today.
This press release from EU Agricultural Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel provides details: EU tables new offer in Doha World Trade talks; calls for immediate movement on services and industrial goods.
The EU proposes:
EU leaders, meeting at a summit in the UK, announced that a revised set of negotiating proposals will be presented on Friday: EU confirms to make new WTO offer on farm trade tomorrow (AFX News, Oct 27, via Forbes).
Once the Doha Round has been completed, the agreements will still have to be incorporated into member country statutes and regulations.
In the United States, important agreements on domestic subsidies for farmers will need to be incorporated into the next farm bill.
The Doha Round has gone through more perils than Pauline .
Peter Gallagher puts the current cliff-hanger into perspective, and points out that there are more to come: High drama and low politics .
Gallagher points out that a sense of crisis "helps governments press beyond established positions." The negotiations aren't over when the current crisis is resolved. Don't expect the agricultural package to be completed when the EU submits its new agricultural proposals (probablyThursday this week). A lot of issues will remain; expect a lot more crises. The agricultural package may not come together until next April-June.
The EU's chief trade negotiator, Peter Mandelson, has been given authority to make new agricultural proposals: Mandelson Wins Backing to Make New WTO Farm Offer (Jennifer Freedman , Bloomberg, Oct 25).
``This offer would be a conditional offer which would enable other WTO members to make further moves in relation to agriculture, industrial goods and services,'' Mandelson's spokesman, Peter Power, said in a statement today. ``It was agreed that the EU offer should be substantive and credible and within the mandate'' of the bloc's agriculture policy.
As I understand it from earlier stories, a new offer could be put forward on Thursday, in time for a scheduled Friday teleconference between negotiators from five key countries (EU, the United States, India, Australia and Brazil).
Not a lot of surface Doha Round action today (Monday), but Sophie Walker surveys the day's rumors: EU farm struggle casts doubt on WTO Hong Kong meet (Reuters.UK, Oct 24).
Two points from this:
A meeting of E.U. foreign ministers on Tuesday, called by France to review the Doha Round negotiations, apparently gave E.U. negotiator Peter Mandelson approval to push forward with the agricultural negotiations.
However, a strong reaction by France since then appears to have thrown things off the tracks...
Transparency International has released its 2005 corruption perceptions index.
Countries are ranked from zero to 10, with higher rankings indicating lower perceptions of corruption.
The countries perceived to be most corrupt are...
In today's (Wednesday's) negotiating session between the "Five Interested Parties", the E.U., the U.S., Brazil, India and Australia, the E.U. did not make any new agriculture proposals. E.U. subsidy and tariff compromises are important to progress on agriculture, but France is strongly opposed to further concessions.
The five parties meet tomorrow with the trade ministers from Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and three other countries, but this is not billed as a negotiating session.
Richard Waddington and William Schomberg report: US, EU warn WTO deal in danger as talks fail .
Last week France requested a meeting of the E.U. foreign ministers, hoping they would limit E.U. trade negotiator Peter Mandelson's ability to make agricultural concessions.
This week the ministers met, but didn't impose the constraints on Mandelson's negotiating stance that France had hoped for.
Today the French have indicated that despite the ministers' decision, they can't accept any more agricultural concessions. Richard Waddington and William Schomberg report:
There was a burst of activity in the Doha agricultural negotiations last week.
The Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest has a very useful summing up of the first part of the week: Ag Subsidies On Negotiating Table; Haggling Underway (Bridges, October 12) Peter Gallagher has a useful post on the week's events. He's particularly interesting about the the ways the strategies of the U.S. and E.U. negotiators reflect their need to fend off domestic critics at the same time they move the negotiations forward.
Later in the week, France suggested that the E.U. trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, needed to be reined in. This week a meeting of the E.U. foreign ministers declined to do so.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) the U.S., the E.U., Brazil, India, and Australia, (the "Group of Five Interested Parties") is going to get together to see if they can make more progress. The five represent a diverse range of interests, hopefully reflecting the interests of the wider community of WTO member nations.
Alan Beattie reviews the interests of the different parties: Constellation of interests clouds Doha talks. (Financial Times, October 18)
The last 10 days events are good news. Agriculture is only one of the topics on the table in the Doha Round, but it is the most important, and nations are waiting to see what happens here before moving forward on other topics. The U.S. move last Monday was a big step towards making things more concrete. Now, apparently today, the E.U. trade commissioner has fended off an internal E.U. attempt to constrain his negotiating space. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
The E.U. gave its trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, the go-ahead to negotiate: Mandelson gets nod from EU (Tom Wright, International Herald Tribune, Oct 18):
European foreign ministers on Tuesday rejected a French proposal to rein in the negotiating authority of Peter Mandelson, the European Union's trade commissioner, keeping alive for now hopes of reaching a global trade deal...
France was upset by Mandelson's proposal last week for deep cuts to EU farm subsidies. But at the EU meeting, the French proposal won support only from countries with large farm sectors like Greece and Ireland. Notably, Germany, which has been sympathetic to France in the past, declined to give its backing.
By reaffirming Mandelson's mandate, the EU ministers are underlining their commitment to forge a compromise with the United States and developing nations over farm aid - a key sticking point in trade talks...
As negotiations progress, Mandelson will have to balance a growing division between mainly Southern European nations that support the current regime - under which the EU pays out about $60 billion annually to farmers - and countries like Britain, Norway and Sweden that back cuts in the subsidies...
Jacques Chai Chomthongdi describes the different agricultural negotiating blocs, and what each wants, for the Focus on the Global South: The "G-Guide" Groupings in the WTO Agricultural Negotiations."
Chomthongdi uses a lot of jargon without explaining it. Here's a glossary: The Terms of Trade and Other Wonders. Deardorff's Glossary of International Economics. Here's another glossary from the USDA Economic Research Service: wto: glossaries . The WTO web page on the agricultural negotiations has some useful background as well: The current negotiations .
Some of those who think that no Doha agreement is better for those in poor countries than a weak or bad agreement are getting ready to take their protests to the streets.
Gustavo Capdevila provides a sympathetic report on their plans: Anti-WTO Protesters Back on the Streets (Inter Press News Agency, Oct 10).
Implicit or explicit in the story:
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong,the government is making its own preparations. As reported in Bridges: Area Around Hong Kong WTO Ministerial Conference Oredered Closed To Public .
Apparently the great influenza pandemic of 1918 was caused by a type of avian flu: 1918 Killer Pandemic Was An Avian Flu .
David Brown reports part of the story behind this discovery: Resurrecting 1918 Flu Virus Took Many Turns (Washington Post, October 10, 2005).
Key evidence came from the body of a woman who died in the Eskimo village of Teller Mission, on the Alaskan shore of the Bering Strait. (Teller Mission is now called Brevig Mission). The flu killed 72 persons of the town's population of 80 between November 15 and November 20, 1918.
The impact on Teller Mission is described in a National Academies Press book (Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections , 2002):
The flu had probably found its way to Brevig Mission (then known as Teller Mission) on the breath of unsuspecting travelers: passengers on a supply ship to Nome, then the men who brought those supplies to the nearby trading post of Teller, then Eskimos from the mission who loaded their dogsleds with supplies there. As the sickness spread, a pall descended on the gloomy outpost, where late-autumn sun lasted only four hours a day. “The sick were constantly moaning and groaning,” wrote one survivor, Clara Fosso, the Lutheran minister’s wife. “Outside, the loose wild dogs howled like wolves.”
A party from Teller traveled 14 miles by dogsled to offer whatever assistance they could. They shot the prowling dogs and searched for signs of life in the igloos. One housed 25 dead bodies. Another contained a pile of human bones—leftovers of a canine meal. The men pierced the seal-gut window of another abode to peer inside at a group of corpses. “Much snow had drifted in,” Fosso wrote. “Luckily, one thought he saw something move in the corner of the igloo. As they shouted down, three frightened children popped from under the deer skins screaming. They virtually had to be captured for they seemed to be in a wild stupor.”
Officials at the U.S. Army base at nearby Fort Davis brought in gold miners from Nome to dig a collective grave. Using steam generators, the miners melted a long rectangular gash in the earth. The victims were each tied with a rope around the chest, dragged across the ice, and laid side by side at an army regulation depth of six feet. Two tall wooden crosses, visible atop the bluff from the sea, marked the grave.
Elizabeth Pinson was six years old in 1918. Her father was a German who ran off to sea to escape recruitment into Bismark's armies, her mother was an Eskimo.
Pinson spent the summer of 1918 in fish camp. In the fall, instead of going with her parents to Teller, she went to spend a few weeks with her grandparents in nearby Teller Mission. The weather was bad in the fall of 1918, and her parents delayed picking her up from her grandparents.
Elizabeth's grandparents lived in a traditional Eskimo igloo. Elizabeth describes it in her new book, Alaska's Daughter: An Eskimo Memoir of the Early Twentieth Century:
Their one-room igloo was atop a forty-foot bluff that sloped steeply to the sea near the waterfall where Papa's whaler and other ships loaded water in drums to take aboard ships. Theirs was a typical Eskimo dwelling. The main floor of the earth igloo was dug about three feet into the ground. The frame was a foundation of split driftwood covered with squared chunks of tundra that eventually sodded over. On the walls hung reindeer hides that kept out the drafts. A skylight and a small window let in some light and the entrance was a low door about five feet high. As you opened the door to enter, you had to step down about two steps to the main floor, which was partly boards and partly earth.
I have often wondered since I grew up, how they could have lived in such conditions...
...Now there are scarcely any sod igloos left such as we lived in when I lived with my grandparents. Those that are left are decaying with time, just hollowed out places in the ground overgrown with tall grass, and the whalebone and driftwood frames have disappeared into splinters.
When the bad weather finally broke, Pinon's father sent her brother Tommy across the ice of the bay separating Teller and Teller Mission to see how things were going. Pinson describes what he found:
Alan Beattie, Raphael Minder, and Frances Williams report that France has called an emergency meeting of European Union ministers to address it's concerns that the EU's trade representative, Peter Mandelson, is giving away too much on agricultural tariffs and subsidies: Emergency meeting called on Doha offer (Financial Times, October 13) :
France on Thursday night called for an emergency meeting of European Union ministers to discuss growing concerns in Paris that Europe will concede too much ground in the Doha round of trade talks...
...France's concerns, backed by 12 other member states, revolve around maintaining the EU's farm tariffs and subsidies.
...The EU offer this week involved a 70 per cent cut in the upper limits for the subsidies that are regarded as distorting trade. But its proposed cuts to tariffs would have seen the highest reduced by only 50 per cent, as opposed to the 90 per cent reduction proposed by the US.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are forcing us to think carefully about evacuating cities.
Sharon Begley wrote a Wall Street Journal "Science Journal" column (September 30) on what we're learning from simulation modeling about the role of highways in evacuations:
There's a new study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (apparently built around a series of country-economic sector case studies) finding that: "All but a very small number of developing countries, mostly in
sub-Saharan Africa, stand to gain more than they lose from successful
completion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks..."
The full news release (OECD urges freer trade combined with structural adjustment to reap benefits from globalisation ) is here:
An informal meeting of key trade ministers has broken up without resolving the agriculture impasse. U.S. and E.U. proposals were not enough to break the deadlock, in good part because, as Peter Gallagher points out here, they remained pretty vague: Proposals for farm trade reforms surface .
Richard Waddington describes the meetings here:
From the time the Communists won the civil war in China in 1949, until the 1990s, party leadership was concentrated in a supreme (core) leader, was highly personal, and was subject to few limits of law or regulation.
Kenneth Lieberthal (Governing China ) points to the problem this created for arranging the succession of one leader by another:
As noted yesterday (Progress on Agriculture at the WTO ) the Bush Administration has made some new negotiating proposals on agriculture. The European Union has since suggested some alternative ideas: EU offers counter-bid on farm trade .
The legislation underpinning the President's negotiating authority expires on July 1, 2007. The Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) estimated a few months ago that, to meet the deadline, the actual Doha negotiations would have to be completed by December 2006, or under certain circumstances, the end of March 2007:
If Congress renews TPA in mid-2005, the Doha Round agreement would be eligible for approval under TPA provided it was signed by the President by June 30, 2007. However, the President must fulfill a number of procedural requirements and meet certain time frames established by TPA . Thus, the WTO Doha negotiations would need to conclude by the end of December 2006 to meet TPA’s statutory requirements. If the Doha Round agreement required no changes to trade remedy laws, the effective deadline could change to the end of March 2007. ( Time is short, and the water is rising )
Gregg Hitt and Scott Miller report on agricultural negotiations in today's Wall Street Journal ("Trade Teams Offer Farm-Subsidy Scenarios"). The Journal story notes that the Administration's political position is slipping as time passes:
Suppose global warming melts the Arctic ice cap - at least in the summer?
Will the Northwest Passage become viable? Will a shipping route across Russia's northern coast compete with the Suez Canal for traffic between Europe and East Asia? Will a lot of shipping pass through the Bering Straits?
(from the procedings of the Arctic Marine Transport Workshop - click on the map to enlarge it)
Clifford Krauss, Steven Lee Myers, Andrew C. Revkin and Simon Romero explored some potential economic impacts of the loss of the Arctic ice cap for the New York Times in As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound (Oct 10).
They look at the implications for oil production, fisheries, international relations...
The Bush Administraion is expressing a willingness to compromise on agriculture subsidies at the WTO Doha Round negotiations.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns indicated this last week at a lunch with agricultural industry representatives: US ready for WTO Ag talks (Truth About Trade & Technology, Oct 7):