Trade Disputes

April 11 2006

I picked up the paper today and headlines tell the whole story. "Pessimism Looms as Trade Talks Set to Reopen." Things could change but the Doha Trade Talks appear to be dead.

Should we be surprised? I'm all for lowering trade barriers, but the process is a two-way street. On another page in the paper, I see where sales of General Motors cars fell 4% and Ford collapsed 9%. But -- Toyota is up 11.7%. Toyota makes a great car and we can't get enough of them. At the same time, the Japanese are…

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Farm Exports

November 14 2004

For years and years we have bragged about the surplus of farm exports over imports. In fact 20 years ago we exported twice as much food as we imported and helped to keep the trade deficit from getting any worse. Would you believe that in June and August of this year our farm trade surplus melted away? We'll have a surplus for the year --- However, it is likely that in 1 or 2 years farm sales will be in deficit.

It's not that our exports have collapsed. In fact, we are exporting 50% more…

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Free Trade

April 1 2003

Although I am not very optimistic about the new round of global trade negotiations, I am much more optimistic about negotiation of bilateral agreements. It is so difficult to get every country in the world to agree on a single plan to reduce duties, to harmonize regulatory standards and not get bogged down in an endless harangue about the environment, labor and even animal rights. However, country by country we can and are making progress.

We just concluded a free trade agreement with…

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Mad Cow Disease

December 6 2000

Cows are headed for slaughter. Beef consumption has collapsed 40% in France. Beef is being yanked off the school lunch menu in Paris and Berlin. Mass hysteria seems to have a grip on all of Europe. The threat -- Mad Cow Disease.

Now I'm not here to say there is no threat or that precautions should not be taken but it seems that the European consumer overreacts to every little thing. And in fact, they really don't care to listen to the scientists and the risk statistics.

It is a fact that…

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Support Domestic Energy Sources

October 24 2000

Oil prices have spiked up again. I'm sure we aren't going to tap the strategic oil reserve for any more oil now. The election will be behind us and there won't be any reason to open it up.

The point that we don't want to miss is that there is a very unique climate out there right now. A climate that is crying out for more of our own energy. Less dependence on foreign oil sources.

It's fine to talk about electric cars, etc. but let's be realistic. This nation nms on oil and coal and to a…

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Government Support for Farmers

July 11 2000

Adopt this proposal and U.S. farmers will be able to "sell their commodities in every comer of the earth without being undercut by subsidized competition or blocked by high tariffs." -- the words of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. The proposal was formally presented to the World Trade Organization the last day of June.

The plan would set a ceiling on government support for farmers and phase down over time. The objective is to systematically wean farmers from government support…

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