Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Stingy Americans and Europeans vs. Generous Chinese?

On Dec. 10, 2006, a conference on the 5th Anniversary of China's Accession to the WTO was held at Peking Univ. At the conference, Mr. GU Yongjiang, the former Chief Negotiator of China's Accession Negotiation, made the following statement (emphasis added by me):

为什么WTO谈不成?多哈会议谈不成?薄熙来同志在香港的一次记者招待会上说得非常精辟,这些大国如果拿出中国入世的气魄,拿出中国入世的勇气就谈成了, 确实如此。我认为谈不成的问题非常复杂,主要是这些主要的成员国太小气,贸易保护主义的成份太重了,要让欧洲取消农业补贴,让美国取消农业补贴,这比登天 还难,确实非常难,因此今后WTO谈判的路还很艰辛。

It is interesting that China criticize the US and EU for being "stingy" in WTO negotiations. While the amount involved might appear very small for a country, the subsidies are very substantial for each individual farmers. What is best for the whole country is not necessarily best for each individual citizens. Therefore, collective action problems probably can only happen in a country with democratic governments. This is a price for democracy to pay.

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