Monday, July 04, 2005

Free Trade for Africa: Bush Challenges the EU

According to today's London Times, President Bush has said that he is "absolutely" prepared to reform America's farm subsidies and open up markets to African companies if the EU will do likewise.

This may prove to be a form of empty words, as big vested interests, both in Europe and America, oppose reform. But it is good that the subject has been put on the agenda, in this context, for the G8 summit this week. In terms of doubling aid and forgiving debt - emotionally significant measures - the USA and the EU are already aligned.

But the clincher - aside from "good governance" - is surely the issue of free trade. Bush's openness to reconsider US farm subsidies and protectionism, and the way he has linked that to a corresponding willingness of the EU to reconsider its disastrously corrupt and counterproductive CAP policy, will introduce a welcome practical aspect which the politicians have to tackle, and it will also deflect the knee-jerk tendency to cast the US as the bad guy in all such matters.
G8 summit at Gleneagles Times Online The Times

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