Export subsidies: there they go again

So much for the under­tak­ing that the EC Mem­bers gave at the Novem­ber, 2008, meet­ing of the G‑20 in Wash­ing­ton, called to orga­nize gov­ern­ment response to the finan­cial cri­sis and the impend­ing reces­sion. The EC action is nar­row­ly with­in the scope of that watery promise, of course:

We under­score the crit­i­cal impor­tance of reject­ing pro­tec­tion­ism and not turn­ing inward in times of finan­cial uncer­tain­ty. In this regard, with­in the next 12 months, we will refrain from rais­ing new bar­ri­ers to invest­ment or to trade in goods and ser­vices, impos­ing new export restric­tions, or imple­ment­ing World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion (WTO) incon­sis­tent mea­sures to stim­u­late exports.” extract from the G‑20 Dec­la­ra­tion

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this sort of @#%#-you pol­i­cy from the world’s wealth­i­est states is the rea­son that inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion has to be backed by agree­ments with mean­ing­ful, rec­i­p­ro­cal enforce­ment. It jus­ti­fies con­tin­u­ing skep­ti­cism about the EC’s tac­tics of over­load­ing WTO trade lib­er­al­iza­tion ‘modal­i­ties’ with roco­co com­pli­ca­tions designed to per­mit the Com­mis­sion to exer­cise full pol­i­cy auton­o­my under the guise of cooperation.

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