Monday, November 06, 2006

Farm Subsidies

Gordon Brown writing in the Times today about the prospects for a fresh world trade deal, , fleshes out what he thinks the deal will look like:

Europe should now go considerably beyond its initial offer of a 39 per cent cut in agricultural tariffs. It even could go beyond the 51 per cent currently mooted. Similarly, America could and should go beyond a 53 per cent cut in trade-distorting domestic support for its farmers. Brazil could and should go beyond its pledge to reduce tariffs on industrial goods, with India responding on services, and all of us contributing to an aid for trade.

He is signalling that under his premiership, CAP will be drastically reduced. Farmers (and the French!) should be afraid. Brown is likely to be a much tougher negotiator than Blair, and unlike Blair has no sympathy for countryside matters/farmers, who don't vote Labour in any case.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Farmers should not be subsidised, I hope Gordon Brown ends their dependency culture.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I will believe it when I see it.

BTW, the aim of cutting farm subsidies is not to wind up farmers; they are just making hay while the sun shines, just like benefit cheats and so on, they didn't invent the system.

The aim msut be also to open up our markets to producers from around the world; this benefits developing countries much more than aid payments AND it benefits shoppers in the UK.

Win win all round, that's free markets for you!

Oh, of course cutting CAP will hack off French farmers no end, but that's just a bonus.

Manjit said...

Are people not concerned by the idea of Brown taking a 'Thatcher' approach to the EU? That was the impression given by Ed Balls in the sense that Brown would goto European Summits and bang the table. Do we really want the UK to end up on the margins of the EU again? Blair has his faults but at least he has taken a more pro-active approach than people like Thatcher and Major in Europe. We do'nt need a return to the bad old days under Brown.

traffic.One said...

Europe and Brown.
manjit, I accept that this area is an issue.

snowflake5 said...

Hi Manjit -

One can be pro-European and against the CAP at the same time. Money is a precious resource, and money wasted subsidising farmers could be redirected towards research and development or to eastern europe where they desperately need the help.

One reason why there are so many Poles in Britain is because the Polish unemployment rate is 15% and their economy not that great. Both the migration and the Polish problems will remain that way till we help them out of their problems.

traffic.One said...

snowflake,
I would love to know in what sense you think Gordon Brown is pro-European.

Manjit said...

Hi Snowflake -

I totally agree there is a need to reform CAP, but do we really want to see Brown storming into EU meetings like Thatcher demanding CAP is reformed and a larger rebate is returned to the UK? Perhaps Brown will be more lucky than Blair and have easier French President to work with. Thou the sort of approach that Ed Balls was signalling that Brown was going to take in Europe does not fill me with confidence. As the PM said yesterday at his last Mansion House Speech it's important that the UK stays at the heart of Europe not at the margins.

To be frank is having so many Poles in the UK such a bad thing? If we believe various economic data, the migration from EU enlargement has helped UK GDP and helped to keep inflation down.

As for the EU trying to be more focused on research and development, it tried that on the Lisborn Agenda. It's pretty much failed to deliever.

The concern with Brown is that he not just anti-Cap, but has a rather hostile attitude towards Europe.