Monthly Archives: May 2005

French referendum makes WTO reforms more difficult

Jacques Chirac has been “on the phone”:,1–0@2–631760,36–656285@51–656094,0.html to oth­er Euro­pean heads of state to dis­cuss the ‘mes­sage’ that he told a nation­al TV audi­ence on Sun­day night he’d ‘accept­ed’. But *what _was_ the mes­sage* that the *10 per­cent ‘non’ mar­gin* sent to France and to Europe? It’s about *pro­tect­ing jobs in France*, accord­ing to Le […]

Justice in the case of Shapelle Corby

It’s like­ly that the small num­ber of _hysterical reactions_ to the case, so loved by tele­vi­sion, have a “racist”:,2106,3297407a12,00.html or an “anti-Indonesian”: char­ac­ter. But the more wide­spread _rumblings_ of con­cernare nei­ther. They remind us of a *pop­u­lar idea of jus­tice* that the com­men­tari­at should find even more dis­turb­ing Like the rest of the com­men­tari­at (“Quiggin’s […]

Is hepatitis B the source of China’s gender imbalance?

Har­vard Econ­o­mist Emi­ly Oster makes an intrigu­ing and well-argued “case”: that Hepati­tis B infec­tion offers an expla­na­tion of what hap­pened to about half of the ‘misss­ing’ 100 mil­lion girl babies in Asia and the mid­­dle-East: *they weren’t born*. Buther own argu­ment makes me won­der whether the expla­na­tion fits China’s “dis­turb­ing demographic”: Slate mag­a­zine car­ries a […]

Lame duck’ chairman of WTO agriculture talks digs in

Maybe the chair­man­ship has gone to his head. The NZ Gov­ern­ment has fired it’s Ambas­sador to WTO, the Chair­man of the Agri­cul­ture nego­ti­at­ing group. But Tim Gross­er has returned to Gene­va claim­ing he’s still got a role in the Doha nego­ti­a­tions as the Chair of the Agri­cul­ture Group.  Thanks Tim! Just what we need, the […]

US and EU quotas to force up world clothing price

The deci­sion of the Chi­nese to tax their own exports re-intro­­duces the scourge of the so-called *_“voluntary restraint“_* that the WTO agree­ments were sup­posed to have elim­i­nat­ed in 1995. The USA and the EU threats to use quo­tas to slash Chi­nese imports has led to a tax on every oth­er con­sumer of jeans, shirts and […]

A crafted consensus on WTO leadership

You’re famil­iar with the sto­ry about the horse designed by a com­mit­tee? Well *horse races* designed by com­mit­tee, too, are prone to be *clum­sy and bizarre*. After three months of con­sul­ta­tions on the next Direc­­tor-Gen­er­al of WTO, dur­ing which a tri­bunal ran a *straw poll dis­guised as a con­sen­sus* pro­ce­dure, we now face a con­sen­sus […]

The breakthrough on agriculture

Report­ing of a ‘break­through’ in the WTO agri­cul­ture nego­ti­a­tions in the past week or so has pro­vid­ed only very sketchy infor­ma­tion on what was _finally_ agreed among about 30 trade Min­is­ters in Paris last week.  Here’s a sum­ma­ry of the out­come with­out all the twists and turns of the his­to­ry­of deals, re-neg­ging and mis­un­der­stand­ing that […]