Monthly Archives: March 2004

‘Direct’ and ‘indirect’ taxes on trade

The lengthy dispute[⇒ related story] between the USA and EU over the United States’ FSC income-tax concessions to US exporters has its roots in an historical error, according to one of the authors of the FSC legislation: Garry Hufbauer. He recommends that the error be corrected, but his proposals seem to require either a significant […]

TRIPS and Drugs: nothing happening

More than 6 months down the road, no country has taken advantage of the hard-fought Decision of the WTO General Council, according to this AFP story. bq. Poor countries that fought to be able to import generic prescription drugs have failed to use changes to the WTO rules on intellectual property rights (AFP via “Yahoo”: […]

IBSA ‘framework’ agreement

This is a diversion: bq. Foreign ministers of the three countries, home to 1.2bn people, yesterday signed a “framework agreement” to boost trade, aimed at countering industrialised nations’ domination of the world trading system. (“FT”: According to the Financial Times, the ‘framework’ contains no actual trade obligations such as cuts in barriers to each others’ […]

Public and private interest

John Quiggin “proposes a test(link to Ideas and Interests on JQs site)”: for distinguishing whether a public-interest or private-interest theory of government is more plausible. bq. If ideas about the desirability of policy are adjusted in response toevidence (cf Keynes – when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?) then the […]

Demography and destiny

Population trends in the Asian and Eurasian continents are summarized in this “fascinating essay(link to Policy Review article)”: by Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Entrerprise Institute. # The 20th century population explosion is all but over in East Asia—including China—and is fading quickly in South East and even South Asia. # Dramatic shifts are taking […]

The cost of the ‘Byrd amendment’

In Februrary last year, the EU, Japan, Brazil, Australia and a dozen other countries won a WTO dispute with the USA over the amendment—named after the redoutable Sen. Byrd of West Virginia, the Senator for the US steel industry—to the US Anti-Dumping and Countervailing laws. “Here’s(linkto the English language version)”: the report of the WTO […]

Chimeric sovereignty

The appeal to “sovereignty”, in international debates, like the appeal to “patriotism” in domestic politics, is the “last refuge of scoundrels”: bq. The world’s 20 poorest countries are just about as poor today as they were 40 years ago. That can be changed only if they start to function quite differently from before, which will […]