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 […]