Here’s where Bush’s shortsighted steel tariffs come back to haunt us:
The United States wants to pick up the pieces from failed global trade talks with a “common sense” approach and a nod to some developing nation concerns, the Bush administration’s top trade official said yesterday.
Rich and poor countries fought to a stalemate during World Trade Organization talks in Cancun, Mexico, in September, all but ruining hope for new global rules governing trade in farm goods, manufactured goods and services by a year-end deadline.
Ruined hope, despite what could be some fine results:
A “good” agreement, with lower tariffs and reduced agriculture subsidies, would boost world economies by $520 billion and lift some 144 million out of poverty in the next 12 years, according to the World Bank.
And why are talks stalemated? Perhaps because this country, supposedly a bastion of free trade, has indulged in a protectionist scheme for steel, and agriculture subsidies almost big enough to make a French farmer blush.
Lead, and the world will follow. But Bush’s “do as I say, not as I do” approach is hardly leadership.