Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boo! Dairy farmers!

According to the Globe and Mail, international trade's reigning bogeymen, dairy farmers, have caused Canada to be not invited to negotiations regarding a major pacific trade deal. As written by John Ibbitson:

"When asked in 2006 to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations that only recently got under way in Australia, the Harper government refused, largely to protect the Quebec and Ontario dairy industry from foreign competition. When Canada changed its mind earlier this year and asked to join, we were told it was too late, according to several sources.

As a result, this country could miss out on being part of a new free trade zone that would encompass 470 million people with a combined GDP of more than $16-trillion.

“It is foolish to hamstring our participation in these negotiations” just to protect the dairy industry, said Jayson Myers, president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association.

“There are much bigger economic interests at stake here,” he maintained."

Dairy farmers are the classic, textbook case of special interests who obtain benefits paid for by small losses to everyone else in society. However, Canada is hardly alone in catering to its agricultural interests.

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