Our hypocrisy on agricultural subsidies...
A nice opinion in the Financial Post today.
Except, of course, that before his moving peroration, Mr. Peterson inserted one or two minor qualifications. "Canada's goals for this Round are clear. In agriculture, Canada seeks to rein-in subsidies and to achieve major improvements in market access. This high level of ambition can only be achieved if countries have some degree of flexibility to accommodate their different domestic policy approaches and sensitivities. Canada strongly supports both our supply-managed sectors and our broader community of agricultural exporters, including the Canadian Wheat Board."
In other words, we will achieve our ambitious goals only if we ... accept less-ambitious goals. We will batter down other people's protectionism, but our own prohibitive tariffs -- often more than 200% -- on milk, chickens, eggs, ice cream and other sensitive products will stay in place.
We are working toward a world in which countries' natural economic advantages determine who produces what. Except that in several of our own agricultural markets, we will simply not let others in. We will work hard so that arbitrary barriers don't block our competitive exporters' entry to other countries' markets. But we will defend to the last Cantonese lunch our right to keep our own arbitrary barriers.