In the wake of the devastating tsunami that parts of Asia in December, the World Trade Organization’s Supachai Panitchpakdi urged developed nations to lower trade barriers with nations hit by the tsunami.
How pathetic. The developed world should eliminate their ridiculous trade barriers with developing nations permanently. Such barriers have done far more long-term damage to the developing world than the tragic — but one-time — horrors created by the December 2004 tsunami.
Along with further worsening poverty in those countries, trade barriers directly contribute to corruption and other problems in developing nations by making it difficult for enterprising individuals to succeed in the market.
Anti-free traders shouldn’t worry, however — special interest groups here in the United States were quick to defend their particular fiefdoms from liberalization.
Deborah Long, the hack in charge of speaking for the Southern Shrimp Alliance, argued that suspending duties on Asian shrimp imports would be unfair. Lloyd Woods, who serves the same role with the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, argued that the best way to help Sri Lanka, Thailand and India wasn’t to eliminate textile tariffs against those country, but rather impose import quotes on Chinese textiles!
Straight from the land of the tariff and the home of the scared s–tless by the prospect of truly free trade.
Rich nations are urged to ease trade with affected countries. Elizabeth Becker, The New York Times, January 15, 2005.