Monday, March 09, 2009

The end of the US FTA pipedream

When Labour was in charge, the then-opposition tried to blame them for the lack of free trade talks with the USA. If only we repealed our anti-nuclear policy / participated in the US's illegal war of aggression against Iraq / helped the US occupy Iraq and generally acted like a subservient little client-state doing whatever the hegemon told us, we - or rather National's farmer-supporters - would be in free trade nirvana. Then the US finally got round to starting talks, and they shut up about it.

Now, the Obama Administration has put negotiations on hold. I wonder where National will try and cast the blame now? Or will they finally grow up and admit that the US's reluctance on this issue stems from one fact, and one fact only: that there is simply nothing in the deal for them. Thanks to our longstanding free-trade policies, the US already has free access to our markets. So why would they sign an FTA - at the high political cost of opening access to their subsidised agricultural industries - to get something they already have? It makes no sense for them whatsoever; the idea of an FTA with the US was nothing but a pipe-dream.