Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville

Thursday, September 04, 2003  


Strong stuff indeed, and may I congratulate Stephen Pollard, Alberto Mingardi, Dr. Sean Gabb, and Cecile Phillipe for their pre WTO paper showing how Europe's trade rules are killing more people a week than the whole Afghan and Iraq wars have killed in their entirety.

Their new paper, the bluntly named "EU Trade Barriers Kill" is published by the CNE and should be required redaing for everybody involved in organisations like the Trade DG, the International Labour Organisation, Ofam and all the rest. Trade does not kill, it is restrictive protectionist measures that do that.

Choice aspects of the report state...

First, there are the trade restrictions. Though the EU has a low industrial tariff of five per cent, its agricultural tariffs are far higher. These average 20 per cent, but rise to a peak of 250 per cent on certain products. For example, the tariff on Bolivian chickens is 46 per cent, and on Bolivian orange juice 34 per cent. On textiles, there are strict quotas on most important lines. These have been reduced or removed in the case of fairly unimportant products such as parachutes and umbrellas. But the European market remains barely open to the majority of low cost textiles from the developing world.

Added to open trade barriers are the complex rules of origin applied to imports from the developing world. These stipulate how much of a product must be made from local inputs to qualify for the preferential tariffs. According to a report published by the Centre for European Policy Studies, only a third of imports from developing countries eligible for preferential access are able to meet the strict criteria to comply with the rules of origin.

Even if an exporter from the developing world is able to comply with these regulations, there are then the further regulations on health and safety. These have a protectionist effect, and that again may be their intention. For example, one regulation requires that milk should be taken from cows by machinery and not by hand. This effectively shuts out all Indian milk products, which would otherwise, admittedly, enter only at prohibitive tariffs of between 76 and 144 per cent. Again, complex rules on aflotoxins cost sub-Saharan Africa $1.3 billion every year in lost exports of cereals, dried fruits and nuts per European life allegedly saved thereby.

Second is the agricultural subsidy handed out by the EU under the rules of the Common Agricultural Policy. This amounts to $41 billion a year, or $14,000 per European Union farmer (though half the spending goes to the biggest 17 per cent of farming enterprises).

posted by Eliab | 3:51 pm
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