Tuesday, August 26, 2003

India and Brazil seem to be teaming up on more issues than just pharmaceuticals for the upcoming WTO ministerial in Cancun.
Developing countries yesterday expressed dissatisfaction with the latest proposed outline for a trade agreement to be considered at the upcoming meeting of World Trade Organization ministers in Mexico, saying the document failed to fully reaffirm the group's commitment to eliminating farm subsidies.

The countries, led by Brazil and India, pledged to present their own proposal at the meeting next month in Cancun of the 146-member Geneva-based organization
There are three somewhat distinct issues wrapped up in the negotiations over agriculture: market access, domestic support and export subsidies. While most liberal free-trade bloggers focus on the first two, the third is the most destructive to agricultural production in the Global South. Don't cry too many tears for the Brazils and Chiles and Argentinas of the world who use more or less the same massive capital-intensive methods as do the Europeans and Americans. Cry for the small farmers of the Philippines or Kenya or Mexico instead who are swamped by Northern grain overproduced and dumped on the world market.

Aside from the moral aspects of the trade negotiations, the politics of the ministerial are especially volatile. India and Brazil seem to have really taken up the mantle of leadership for the Global South as a whole. In the past, Brazil (under Cardoso) had been happy to play US lap dog and India had largely abandoned its leading role won under Nehru in favor of isolationist Hindu nationalism. These more docile days seem to be behind us now.

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