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 The WTO - WTF?

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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:20 pm

The WTO would be the last people to measure their own performance. The WTO is theoretically a democratic organisation because unlike the IMF and the World Bank, the WTO is run on a one country, one vote system. But no votes are taken at the WTO. The same countries running the IMF threaten developing countries with IMF sanctions if they start getting uppity in Geneva.

There are no independent organisations monitoring growth and development in developing countries for 2 reasons. Firstly there is usually nothing to report (ie. there is no growth or development) and secondly, the WTO dispute panels meet in secret so there is not much to report except the result of the hearing.

Finally, WTO law requires that all countries commit their economies to ever increasing trade liberalisation which effectively means developed countries saying "Let us in or we will set the IMF on you again". China is using this to go asset-stripping in Africa.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:09 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
The WTO would be the last people to measure their own performance. The WTO is theoretically a democratic organisation because unlike the IMF and the World Bank, the WTO is run on a one country, one vote system. But no votes are taken at the WTO. The same countries running the IMF threaten developing countries with IMF sanctions if they start getting uppity in Geneva.

There are no independent organisations monitoring growth and development in developing countries for 2 reasons. Firstly there is usually nothing to report (ie. there is no growth or development) and secondly, the WTO dispute panels meet in secret so there is not much to report except the result of the hearing.

Finally, WTO law requires that all countries commit their economies to ever increasing trade liberalisation which effectively means developed countries saying "Let us in or we will set the IMF on you again". China is using this to go asset-stripping in Africa.

Is there any way of finding out what the prospective agreement is, and how is it made? Our Minister was murmuring about an agreement not really being an agreement. He lost me.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:27 pm

Not really, cactus flower. The Doha round has been going on since 2001. It all happens behind closed doors so you get "No agreement yet" or "We have something". Unattributable briefings give a glimpse sometimes as to what might be happening but that is the nature of the WTO. It is all secret
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:00 am

Auditor has asked for an update - so here goes.

Today two big issues on the table were cotton and bananas, which don't concern us, but are huge for developing countries. But the way they seem to have been handled so far means I think they'll lose out again, like the sugar scenario.

They're dropping the tariffs on bananas going into America and basically this will mean that there will be way more access but at a much lower price. It's the same scenario as the sugar - more volumes in for them but the value in overall terms mightn't lift an awful lot.

My read of that is that it would suit bigger, more industrialised operations than the ordinary small, developing grower in the developing country. Probably it's all dev countries that are producing bananas anyway but it seems America has bought up a lot of plantations and they'd be the winner there rather than the small producer or the - for want of a better word, the family-type operations.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:10 am

China appear to be holding out today for a better deal on cotton - and they seem to be expressing more concerns about global and their own food security - with their huge population, obviously.

The Indian farmers are still not feeling any better about the whole thing.

Mary Coughlan was in today's Indo saying that she understands farmers' concerns, that they would have a huge concern and there are huge concerns for farmers in this deal and if there were to be a deal at the same time she says there's no deal on the table so there's no question of needing a veto because there's nothing to veto as yet.

But the way the veto works, is that if it gets to the stage the deal is made and is recommended, Ireland are not in a position to veto because it's done at that stage. News has gone around the world that the deal is made if there's an acceptance; it's not practical or possible for a little country like Ireland to stop the world, that's not how it works - so what you have to do is do the threatening before the deal is made; that's the power of the veto.

At the moment, France seem to be putting in a fairly strong performance on the basis that agriculture is bearing too big a proportion of the burden. The ministers for agriculture and trade are saying that there are problems in it for farmers but we have to have balance - their words are non-committal and that's a very different thing to what the French are saying, which is that the deal is not acceptable and they're prepared to topple the deal.

It's what the Irish are not saying that's the problem. What Brendan Smith has been saying - and he's speaking on behalf of ag - shows that he seems to be more concerned with being against something or not, than doing the right thing. Rather than working out that it's bad for the country and resisting it all the way on the basis of doing the figures, Ireland don't want to be perceived as a country that only says no.

They're using as an excuse that they don't want to say no again after Lisbon.

All the other stuff still stands, and the direction of the talks don't do anything to change my view on that.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:11 am

I should have more statistics tomorrow. The protest tomorrow is outside the Department of the Taoiseach. Beep as you go by...
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:13 am

Mr. P you're welcome Very Happy ! We have a special place for showering people with aloha's on another thread so you'll get a mention there in a moment.

As I said it's a system where one piece moves up and two other pieces move down and it's hard to see where it all fits in around who where why what, especially if you are like most of us here and not involved in the negotiations.

Banana splits in San Francisco should become cheaper because of this deal but someone loses out and that might be the small developer. Is this a bad thing because those nations cannot industrialise quickly enough which I assume they need to do. Also, is there any talks aimed at protecting specialist farmers and products like organic this and that and Parma ham ..

Economics might not all be solved by the perfect market theory which is widely subscribed to - consumers apparently show signs of purchasing with their hearts all too often to the chagrin of free marketeers who pin their theories almost exclusively on the notion that everyone goes for cheaper this that and the other thing and more more more ..
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:19 am

Auditor was wondering about whether farming would diversify and we'd have cheaper beef and more forestry and cycle lanes for the tourists.

We won't have cheaper beef; all the evidence is that we won't. The sugar didn't get cheaper. Brazilian beef or New Zealand lamb is not sold more cheaply - it's sold as a comparable product at the same price - it's just that the supermarket gets a bigger margin.

We could have more trees. It's a good thing for the trees and for the air but it's not a good thing for the economy - did you ever see anyone eating a tree? It means that land that's well capable of producing food - and there has to be something morally wrong with that as we run into a time of predicted world food shortages.

The fact is, when you go into forestry, you can't just rip out the trees and change to go into something else, it ain't as simple as that. I've no problem with forestry on land that's not capable of economically producing food. Surely, it doesn't make sense that we wouldn't produce food at a time of impending shortage at every available opportunity.

Cycle lanes for the tourist? Why not?
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:21 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Mr. P you're welcome Very Happy ! We have a special place for showering people with aloha's on another thread so you'll get a mention there in a moment.

As I said it's a system where one piece moves up and two other pieces move down and it's hard to see where it all fits in around who where why what, especially if you are like most of us here and not involved in the negotiations.

Banana splits in San Francisco should become cheaper because of this deal but someone loses out and that might be the small developer. Is this a bad thing because those nations cannot industrialise quickly enough which I assume they need to do. Also, is there any talks aimed at protecting specialist farmers and products like organic this and that and Parma ham ..

Economics might not all be solved by the perfect market theory which is widely subscribed to - consumers apparently show signs of purchasing with their hearts all too often to the chagrin of free marketeers who pin their theories almost exclusively on the notion that everyone goes for cheaper this that and the other thing and more more more ..

Audi, he has just fallen asleep mid sentence, but I'm sure he'll get back to you himself tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:22 am

Kate P wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Mr. P you're welcome Very Happy ! We have a special place for showering people with aloha's on another thread so you'll get a mention there in a moment.

As I said it's a system where one piece moves up and two other pieces move down and it's hard to see where it all fits in around who where why what, especially if you are like most of us here and not involved in the negotiations.

Banana splits in San Francisco should become cheaper because of this deal but someone loses out and that might be the small developer. Is this a bad thing because those nations cannot industrialise quickly enough which I assume they need to do. Also, is there any talks aimed at protecting specialist farmers and products like organic this and that and Parma ham ..

Economics might not all be solved by the perfect market theory which is widely subscribed to - consumers apparently show signs of purchasing with their hearts all too often to the chagrin of free marketeers who pin their theories almost exclusively on the notion that everyone goes for cheaper this that and the other thing and more more more ..

Audi, he has just fallen asleep mid sentence, but I'm sure he'll get back to you himself tomorrow.

This is brilliant, a husband-and-wife team in the Machine Nation. I believe we have our first power couple. w00t.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:27 am

US has accused China and India of trying to sabotage WTO talks on the front of tomorrow's Irish Times... TV3 news.

Power couple? There's an idea...
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:29 am

Kate P wrote:
US has accused China and India of trying to sabotage WTO talks on the front of tomorrow's Irish Times... TV3 news.

That's a blame game, they're trying to deflect criticism from themselves in the event of failure. The omens for this round don't look good with that sort of atmosphere, but they could still scrape it.

Quote :
Power couple? There's an idea...

It is exactly.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:41 am

I think it would be better if the talks do collapse, that Mandelson's lunacy is left behind and we start again. I don't mean that in the Lisbon treaty sense; I think that so much has been negotiated over the last seven years that is now utterly irrelevant, that it makes no sense to continue with it in the context of food insecurity.

This season's harvest should put a new light on things. If the weather turns and the harvest is poor (and yields can change, literally, overnight with heavy rain that causes the grain to lodge and more difficult to harvest), then we will find ourselves in a very different situation.

The interesting thing about that, from a beef perspective is that generally Irish beef is grass-fed; that's not the case throughout Europe. So since we don't rely on grain to the same extent as say, Spain or Italy, we've a better chance of producing more economically.

But if grain prices rise again next year, you can probably say goodbye to Irish pork; most pig farmers are in serious trouble with high feed prices this year and cheaper imports and many are selling at a loss.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:45 am

Kate P wrote:
I think it would be better if the talks do collapse, that Mandelson's lunacy is left behind and we start again. I don't mean that in the Lisbon treaty sense; I think that so much has been negotiated over the last seven years that is now utterly irrelevant, that it makes no sense to continue with it in the context of food insecurity.

I think so too, there are a lot of things which don't make sense in this round of talks and a lot of things which will have adverse environmental, economic and social effects for years to come.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:37 am

I don't know if this is a big enough question for a separate thread, keep it here by all means, it's 1.30am, am sitting here watching the rainstorm outside, but given this thread and the various Lisbon threads here and elsewhere .... are you all losing faith in the basic concept of multilateral organisations / negotiations? How do we achieve that bottom-up accountability which it seems is lacking?

(.... writing from London with a hopeless PM holding on, just about, politics drifting, no issues being properly engaged .... )
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:44 am

Atticus wrote:
How do we achieve that bottom-up accountability which it seems is lacking?

Question of the decade ..
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:45 am

...so? ...
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:59 am

My understanding is that the Evil Empire started the WTO up and has a stack of votes. The developing countries pushed at Doha to get a nibble of the action.

Bananas are very big business in Ireland - I kid you not - Fyffes and taxation come into it if you have time to google - I have to fly.

How to change it? Change of the World Order and an end to the outdated and destructive US hegemony - no more rich and poor countries, everyone working co-operatively to develop and share their resources. Why start anywhere else?
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:24 pm

Like I said earlier in this thread last Monday 21st

Quote :
Personally as I've said from the beginning - Mandelson is on a hiding to nothing - at least 20 countries are seriously worried by his kowtowing at this moment in time - The French are definitely totally against - but its brinkmanship time at the moment and everybody will wait to see the final agreement - if there is one - which I seriously doubt unless the Yanks decide to make some serious concessions - which I do not see happening in an election year - all in all we are set up for a collapse in the negotiations - the main debate now is everybody trying to pin the blame of collapsing the deal on somebody else.

There will either be an agreement on non-agricultural trade - with agriculture parked for another decade or so on an interminable road to nowhere talks - or the whole gig will be postponed, shelved etc etc - I fancy the latter will happen - nobody seems to be too pushed about coming to an agreement and with a global recession almost upon us - protectionism will be the order of the day as the most convenient and politically convenient option - ie the farming and agribusiness lobbies are always the most organised and vocal of lobby groups in nearly all states. With 9 of the EU already now on record as being opposed to what theoretically Mandelson could agree to - even if there is an agreement - it has no chance of being ratified by the EU - so is essentially a waste of time.

Which seems to be great news for our cholesterol producers - pity the collapse of the talks will throw all the progress on intellectual property rights, especially in R&D, EU manufactures entry into the closed markets of South America, India and China in the bin aswell -

sure hey us folks in ex-Eu manufacturing are only a pain in the ass tho - the real future for Ireland is in agriculture isn't it? - its going to employ all those 100's of thousands who will be joining the jobless lines over the next year or so and our biggest agricultural market is ... the UK - stick that Mandelson!- we just want the chance to sell to 150 million europeans only, not to 6.5 billion world citizens - a fair proportion of these in Asia (At least 500 mil) are becoming seriously rich.

So I'll put aside my non-red meat eating habits for a moment and have a supersized double big mac on my way to the dole office to celebrate this wonderful achievement -

Wonder will they give us special food vouchers so we can afford Irish Beef while on our "Job seekers benefit"?

(that last part is sarcastic - but one persons "security" and "Future" effects another persons security and future aswell - there are winners and losers here - the IFA would do well to remember that when they start crowing over the wonderful "victory" they will have achieved - no doubt - they will have forgotten it all in a few months and will be giving out about the welfare bums on the dole draining away the wealth of the state by Christmas)

Have a nice day - eat Beef! Very Happy


Last edited by Edo on Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:45 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Atticus wrote:
How do we achieve that bottom-up accountability which it seems is lacking?

Question of the decade ..

As the thread started out there seems to be very little visibility of news about this in the media and what do consumers really know or should they really have to know anything? Shouldn't these processes be trusted to be happening for the good of everyone as dictated by the market - lower prices and the comparative advantage etc. If Ireland loses its beef monopoly on the world's beef market then won't those involved here - the landed - have to adapt to a changed world market ? one in which we assume the beef has become cheaper and better, if possible.

But how do we know that our representatives are working in the best interests of the market at all? Economics is a better situation than politics for bottom-up accountability though - consumers are getting more and more discerning you'd imagine, if only this were the case with voters.

It might take time but the developing and evolving knowledge and education of consumers - and consumers themselves - are an important cog in the whole thing.

Edo wrote:
There will either be an agreement on non-agricultural trade - with agriculture parked for another decade or so on an interminable road to nowhere talks - or the whole gig will be postponed, shelved etc etc - I fancy the latter will happen -
What's the rush anyway? Is there an argument for changing the market gradually and allowing developing countries to adapt first? It seems too simple that developed countries just drop their barriers and the developing world starts rising as a result. Shouldn't local agriculturalists be allowed to adapt to the prospect of a different future market too ? Do irish farmers know what they are going to do if the price of beef is suddenly halved or do they simply believe it won't ever happen ?
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:25 pm

Interesting - but not surprising - he who shouts the loudest etc etc........................

http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1014307.shtml
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:36 pm

Edo wrote:
Interesting - but not surprising - he who shouts the loudest etc etc........................

http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1014307.shtml

It's just staggering to see how much in CAP receipts Ireland gets, it's completely out of proportion to the receipts anyone else gets. Relatively impoverished Greece stands insignificant against our embarrassment of riches. Perhaps there's something in the view that the Irish are the canniest negotiators of the whole EU family.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:58 pm

There's reports now that the talks have ideed collapsed.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:07 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
There's reports now that the talks have ideed collapsed.

cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers

Irish farming is saved! Sense prevails! Let's hope the new European Commissioner can put together a better deal with their counterparts over the next 2 years.
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PostSubject: Re: The WTO - WTF?   Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:21 pm

Edo wrote:
Interesting - but not surprising - he who shouts the loudest etc etc........................

http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1014307.shtml

Interesting link Edo, thanks.

It would be more tempting to post on the collapse of the talks if we had any reliable information on what was actually being offered and turned down under the various headings.

As it turned out it was India, and not Ireland, that said No to the agricultural package.
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