Monthly Archives: May 2005

French referendum makes WTO reforms more difficult

Jacques Chirac has been “on the phone”:http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1–0@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”:http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3297407a12,00.html or an “anti-Indonesian”:http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1379911.htm 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”:http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~eoster/hepb.pdf 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”:http://www.inquit.com/article/278/demographic-consequences-of-choosing-male-children 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 […]