I’m not a big fan of the WTO. Amongst other issues I have the WTO seems to operate behind a mask of secrecy that might even make the bush administration blush. However, there may be some positives:
When the US government gives away some $4 billion to American cotton farmers in return for a crop that’s valued at only $3 billion, something’s amiss.
And cotton subsidies are just a portion of the $19 billion that the federal government pays to boost US agriculture and its exports each year.
This week, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization made a preliminary ruling that the United States must end cotton subsidies because they distort global trade.
The WTO, which the US helped create as a way for consumers to benefit from open markets, has dealt a blow to the biggest stumbling block to expanded trade. Governments in rich nations need to use this ruling to persuade domestic farm lobbies that they can no longer delay the inevitable: no subsidies, only free competition.
It should not need WTO rulings to help persuade farm lobbies that the time for subsidies have ended. The people funding the subsidies should just say no!
Yep, that’s you and me paying these subsidies via taxes.
Update (4/29): Jane Galt has some good words about this ruling.