The Doha round of trade negotiations has not progressed far. Dawn's Early Light blames France for the lack of progress in moving towards reduced barriers in farm trade to help the developing world do just that, develop [see DEL here with description on history of Doha trade round]. The Bush Administration proposed a radical reduction in farm tariffs that was half met by the EU, but even that lacked French support.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is to give a major policy address at Whitehall on Wednesday stressing the need for the industrial nations to come to an agreement on moving free trade forward before the next trade round is concluded in Hong Kong. The Financial Times reports:
"In a bid to underscore the wider importance of the trade talks, Mr Blair will say that 'there is no security or prosperity at home unless we deal with the global challenges of conflict, terrorism, trade, climate change and poverty'.
In a message that is likely to be seen as an address to fellow EU members, Mr Blair will claim that the benefits from an agreement to reduce payouts to farmers would not only benefit the developing world. EU countries could make up to €20bn (£13bn) a year more from trading opportunities.
'Self-interest and mutual interest are inextricably linked,” Mr Blair is expected to say.'"
- that a failure to bring about trade reform in agriculture,
- will lead to a continued impoverished third-world,
- that will encourage an acceptance of radical Islam, thereby
- creating more unrest in Europe and elsewhere due to large Muslim immigrant populations.
France is the obstacle to EU farm reform, largely due to its socialist policies of supporting farmers. But now French domestic opinion is fearful of their large immigrant population that is largely Muslim. France may be more open to shifting their veto over EU trade policy to bring about third-world reform that contributes to the sense of Muslims not being respected in Europe.
While DEL largely believes the French riots were at their root caused by high chronic unemployment, the argument of not being able to assimilate the Muslim immigrants into European society is, nevertheless, an obvious problem.
Will Mr. Chirac, PM Tony Blair's nemesis, listen? Probably not. But one must give Mr. Blair points for trying.