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OpenMarket: Trade and International

  • The Cuddly Europeans Threaten Climate Penalties

    December 20, 2007
    The Europeans may harp on climate change, but the U.S. actually has done better at slowing emissions growth without ratifying the Kyoto protocol. No matter. First the Europeans wrote Kyoto to their benefit, choosing the date so they could claim credit for the closure of inefficient East German industries and Great Britain's shift to gas as a major energy source. Now Germany's Social Democrats want to penalize American exports if the U.S. does not comply with European climate dictates. Reports the International Herald Tribune:
    The Social Democrats are calling for sanctions on energy-intensive U.S. export products if the Bush administration continues to obstruct international agreements on climate protection, the party's leading environmental expert said Tuesday. The move, after the United...
  • Gordon Brown hopes "Fool in the Rain" isn't about him

    December 9, 2007
    In anticipation of the incredibly overhyped Led Zeppelin reunion tomorrow in London, a UK Telegraph article on the band's legacy invites a slew of comments, including -- among some inane missives -- an amusing take on "Stairway to Heaven" as a prophetic account of British politics over the subsequent three decades:
    The Telegraph stoops to popularism but on a serious note they were prophets too.. There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold (Thatcher) And she's buying a stairway to heaven (coal stocks) And when she gets there she knows if the stores are all closed With a word...
  • Marrying to Fight Global Warming

    December 5, 2007
    What to do about global warming? The usual ideologues and activists are busy at the latest international conclave in Bali. Needless to say, there are worse places where the U.N. could host a meeting dedicated to saving the environment. The Indonesian government has come up with a unique program: People can help ameliorate global warming by getting married. Reports the BBC:
    State-run Antara news agency reported that couples will have to supply seedlings or pay 25,000 rupiah ($3, £1.30) under the compulsory scheme. Couples applying for a divorce face a higher charge of 25 seedlings or over 40,000 rupiah ($4.25,£2). District officials say the programme is aimed at combating global warming. Couples will be expected to hand over the seedlings or cash to the person officiating at their wedding...
  • Since When Has Hugo Liked Democracy?

    December 3, 2007
    Ivan, Like you I was happy to see that Hugo Chavez lost the referendum that would have, more or less, made him a "president for life." But I can't see anything about his record -- his suppression of the free press, his coup attempts against democratically elected leaders, his attacks on the opposition at every turn -- that makes me think he will ever step down peacefully. At most, I could see him taking the "Putin route" and giving the presidency to some loyal crony while continuing to control everything from behind the scenes.
  • NO to Chavez "reforms"

    December 3, 2007
    Venezuelan voters narrowly defeated Hugo Chavez's effort to expand his presidential powers and abolish presidential term limits, the country's electoral council announced just about an hour ago. Considering the way Chavez has bullied his opponents, including shutting down a TV station, it's heartening to see democratically-minded Venezuelans prevail. Of course, Chavez is not one to take "No" for an answer and just go away quietly, so it'll be interesting to see what he does next.
  • Heritage to Congress: Ratify FTA with Colombia

    August 22, 2007
    Over at The Heritage Foundation, James M. Roberts, in a paper titled “The U.S.—Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement: Don't Let Progress Fall Victim to D.C. Politics,” argues that Congress should drop its threats and ratify the U.S.—Colombia free trade agreement and the other three pending ones. To do otherwise, Roberts wrote, would send a global message that the U.S. is turning its back on an important Latin American ally when more open trade with the U.S. could help Colombia build its economy, help its people climb out of poverty, and have greater resources to address some of the crime and corruption problems in that country.
    As President Uribe tries to reduce poverty and income inequality in his country by opening up to the global economy, next-door neighbor Hugo Chavez is tightening a noose around...
  • "Political pandering" on trade

    August 21, 2007
    The Denver Post yesterday ran an excellent editorial about the negative climate for free trade, with a focus on “election-year political pandering.” Here are some excerpts:
    One of the more harmful results of this early presidential contest has been the introduction of election-year political pandering to the trade debate in Congress. The result may be a return to protectionist policies that will force American consumers to pay higher prices while costing U.S. workers thousands of export-related jobs. Every U.S. president since World War II, Republican or Democrat, has fought to reduce the kind of trade barriers that triggered the Great Depression of the 1930s. For its part, the Bush administration has followed the fine example set by its Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, by seeking approval...
  • Fund on Mine Your Own Business

    August 21, 2007
    Today in OpinionJournal.com, John Fund looks at the environmentalist-led campaign against a proposed mine in Rosia Montana, Romania, documented in the film Mine Your Own Business -- whose Washington, D.C. premiere CEI co-sponsored. All-purpose left-wing moneybags George Soros and professional umbrage artist Vanessa Redgrave -- who Fund points out "hasn't visited Rosia Montana" -- are pushing hard to shut the mine project down, never mind what the town's residents may actually want.
    Opponents of the mine claim that Rosia Montana residents agree with their stance. "Local opposition to the mine is strong and organized" says a statement signed by 80 environmental groups in January. In his letter, Mr. Soros cites a recent poll organized by some members of...
  • Peru's Post-Earthquake Prospects

    August 20, 2007
    The horrendous devastation of the recent earthquake in Peru could only have been exacerbated by government incompetence. That's my conclusion after reading Ian Vazquez's account in today's Wall Street Journal. In some parts of the country, government provision of basic services, such as clean water and education, is so bad that residents are simply giving up on the state to provide, and turning to the private sector instead. (Subscription required for Journal link.)
    One million of Lima's eight million citizens have no access to clean water.

    The water monopoly -- which loses some 40% of its water through leaky pipes or in ways otherwise unaccounted for -- is only one of...

  • In Brazil, a Moment of Silence against State Incompetence and Corruption

    August 16, 2007
    Tomorrow, Friday August 17, at 1:00 pm (local time), our friends at Brazil's Instituto Liberdade will participate in the campaign "Worn Out," (Cansei) which will protest the Brazilian government's ineffectiveness and corruption through a moment of silence, in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city and commercial capital, and Porto Alegre, where IL is based. In the campaign video below, one of the points of complaint is the country's chaotic air traffic control system. Of course, in Latin America, fighting state corruption and incompetence of that magnitude is an uphill struggle, to say the least, so any such efforts are welcome....

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