Has there been a free trade breakthrough?

We at MR are reluctant to recycle posts from the past, but I stand by this previous analysis about WTO agreements on agricultural subsidies.  One excerpt:

Many agricultural interventions keep world prices up, not down, by
preventing the reallocation of farming to its most productive
geographic venues. Nonetheless it is not obvious that the very poor
countries would be big winners in any competitive reshuffling of
sectoral specializations. In fact we might expect technology to make
agriculture increasingly high-tech. We are then back to the case where
export subsidies hurt taxpayers in rich countries but help consumers in
poor countries.

Also keep in mind that many poor countries already enjoy free
bilateral access to EU markets for many agricultural commodities, with
rice, sugar, and bananas being prominent exceptions. So if
liberalization causes food prices in Europe to fall, agricultural
exporters in the poor countries may again be worse off.

Addendum: Today’s NYT has an excellent article on the same.


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