Monthly Archives: September 2004

The most free trade President?

Weak praise for G W Bush: he’s done bet­ter than oth­ers recent­ly, accord­ing to Claude Barfield—ex US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Counsel—in the LA Times. Barfield makes only one direct com­par­i­son: with the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion that, as he says, was stymied by a hos­tile Con­gress’ refusal to pass the nego­ti­at­ing author­i­ty need­ed to launch a nego­ti­at­ing round […]


It’s not a nat­ur­al incli­na­tion of mine or of most peo­ple, I sup­pose. But there’s a sort of Amer­i­can rhetoric about their own excep­tion­al char­ac­ter and role in the world that would tempt even their most stal­wart friends. Fareed Zakaria, an edi­tor of Newsweek, writes in this month’s For­eign Pol­i­cy­magazine bq. In this post-ide­o­log­i­­cal age, […]

Window dressing

This is mind­less stuff. It’s being por­trayed as a way of main­tain­ing rev­enue to fund Labor’s tax pack­age. But the tar­iffs are a regres­sive tax that will mar­gin­al­ly penal­ize Labor vot­ers, will “save” not a sin­gle job in man­u­fac­tur­ing and will be com­plete­ly over­whelmed by exchange rate move­ments. Point­less and mis­lead­ing for both work­ers and […]

Is ASEAN serious about trade reform?

Two oppos­ing views: from the Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter and from the EC Trade Com­mis­sion­er who, almost alone this week, did not reach an agree­ment with ASEAN on the nego­ti­a­tion of a future ‘free trade’ agree­ment. The Malaysian press report­ed a speech by Prime Min­is­ter Badawi in which he referred oblique­ly to the “notorious”: Malaysian pro­tec­tion […]

Dotty explanation

NZ trade offi­cials must believe that their future Free Trade Agree­ment with Chi­na will have weak rules of ori­gin, or maybe none. That’s the only sense I can make of this claim about the sig­nif­i­cance of NZ’s “agreement”: last week­end to start Free Trade talks with ASEAN. bq. The move with Chi­na boost­ed New Zealand’s […]

ASEAN free trade adventures

The ASEAN Eco­nom­ic Min­is­ters meet­ing this week­end in Jakar­ta has pro­duced a rash of new pro­pos­als for ‘free trade agree­ments’ with Japan (by 2012), Korea and (prob­a­bly) with Aus­tralia and New Zealand. Parts of the pro­posed “agree­ment with China”: were also approved by the Min­is­ters. But, as is usu­al­ly the case with ASEAN, there are […]

No ticket, no laundry

Gen­er­al Motors claims that a rival Chi­nese auto mak­er has infringed it’s intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty rights by steal­ing the design of a small car. But there seems to be a flaw in the GM claim. bq. … the Spark design, which GM obtained in its 2002 acqui­si­tion of South Korea’s for­mer Dae­woo Motor Sales Corp., was […]