The Global Trade Agenda in 2004

How were trade issues discussed over the year 2003?

December 31, 2003

How were trade issues discussed over the year 2003?

The year 2003 was crucial for trade. At the September WTO meeting in Cancún, developing countries voiced their anger about unfair trade practices. Transatlantic relations witnessed a row over U.S. steel tariffs. In Asia, ASEAN moved closer to an eventual economic union. Then, there is the Chinese manufacturing juggernaut. We present 2003’s most poignant quotes on the subject.

“Trade must be a tool not only to create wealth, but also to distribute it in a more equitable way.”

(Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim)

“You can see the protectionist sentiment growing rapidly — but you haven't seen anything yet.”

(Frank Vargo, lobbyist for the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers)

“American manufacturers can compete against any country’s white collars and blue collars — but we will not submit to competing against another country’s choke collars.”

(Donald Evans, U.S. Commerce Secretary)

“Africans will live — or die — depending on whether the world’s wealthiest economies lower import barriers and scale back on agricultural subsidies and overproduction, which depress world prices.”

(Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda)

“What’s the use of our farmers even producing when you can buy something from the United States cheaper at the local market?”

(Congo’s President Joseph Kabila)

“Listen hard to Third World activists these days. It is not anti-globalization rhetoric you hear — but anti-trade-barrier rhetoric.”

(Anne Applebaum, Washington Post columnist)

“The WTO has its flaws — but it is a forum where the weak can seek redress against the strong when the rules are broken.”

(Larry Elliott, economics editor at The Guardian)

“The Europeans use health standards to protect their agricultural markets. Now it appears the United States is moving in the same direction, only using security issues as a protectionist tool.”

(Senior Southeast Asian government official)

“There is nervousness about the saber-rattling by the EU on trade issues. It is like a neighbor who is constantly calling the cops and complaining.”

(John Douglass, president of the Aerospace Industries Association)

"The danger is that, by small increments, we will carve the world into blocs. That kind of world will not be advantageous to smaller and weaker countries.”

(Senior Singaporean official)

“The United States will not wait: We will move towards free trade with can-do countries.”

(U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick)

“It’s sort of Leninist — because they’re picking off countries one by one.”

(Jagdish Bhagwati, economics professor at Columbia University)

“Right now, it is like competing in a race — but they are running on land and you are swimming in the water.”

(Mario Montes de Oca, owner of Union Clothing)

“From the 15th to the 19th century, Latin America’s external trade and investment had greater significance than in the 20th century.”
(James Petras, author)

“Why can’t the Americans stick to making what we can’t? For little things like bras, nobody can compete with China.”

(Yang Rong, manager of Jinhua Asset Underwear Co.)

“The “cotton-picking truth”, as they say in rural Texas, is that the United States has no business growing 16 million bales of cotton a year.”

(New York Times editorial)

“Trade does not destroy jobs — but shifts them elsewhere.”

(Brad DeLong, economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley)