Thursday, November 24, 2005

inching closer towards free trade

the EU has agreed to trim it's sugar subsidies in an effort to potentiate the upcoming wto meeting in hong kong (part of the doha round). from the FT article:

After three days of talks, the ministers decided to cut the EU’s guaranteed sugar price by 36 per cent over four years. This was instead of an initially envisaged cut of 39 per cent over two years.
...Poland, Latvia and Greece refused to endorse the final compromise.
The EU has 312,000 sugar beet farmers and Brussels currently buys sugar from European producers at €632 a tonne, three times the world market price.
The UK Industrial Sugar Users Group on Thursday deplored last-minute concessions that would still leave the EU price about double the world sugar price. “This deal takes the easy way out by simply dumping increased compensation costs on consumers and industrial users,” it said.

i always wondered about the EU could export so much sugar (the world's number 2 exporter after brazil) w/o having the necessary climate to grow sugarcane, and now i know...sugarbeets.

sugar was also a sticking point in cafta. i like this from the 'truth about trade' article:

Sugar growers and refiners gave $2.4 million in contributions to Democratic and Republican candidates in the 2003-04 election cycle, more than any other agricultural group...The best-known donors are big sugar cane growers in Florida and Louisiana, especially the Fanjul brothers, who come from a family of sugar barons in Cuba (their holdings were expropriated by Fidel Castro) and now produce cane near the Everglades.

Jose "Pepe" Fanjul, president of Florida Crystals Corp., raised enough money for the Bush campaign to gain entry into the elite group of GOP "Rangers." His brother Alfonso, who specializes in contributions to Democrats, gained notoriety during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, when it emerged that Fanjul's phone call to the Oval Office had interrupted a presidential meeting with Monica Lewinsky.

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