Australia Embraces the Less Government-Free Trade Model - We Should Too
Hugs - and Free Trade - All Round
We recently referenced the very good news to come from an otherwise very bad President Barack Obama China trip.
The U.S. and China reached an agreement to drop tariffs on a wide range of technology products, in a deal that its backers say could cover $1 trillion in trade and that marks a significant accomplishment amid strained ties between Beijing and Washington.
The two countries late Monday reached a deal to expand the Information Technology Agreement, a global technology trade pact, to cover semiconductors, medical devices, Global Positioning System devices and other newer products, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Tuesday in Beijing.
The deal–reached late Monday after marathon negotiations and more than a year of stalled talks–could be ratified in December by members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Our ally Australia certainly seems to get the myriad advantages of a Less Government-Free Trade existence.
After ten years of negotiations, Australia and China have agreed to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Let’s hope we all can shave a lot of time off these things.
Ultimately 95 percent of Australian exports to China will be tariff free within the next decade or so.
That is a whole lot of Less Government-Free Trade.
In fact, even before the FTA had gone ahead government ministers were announcing a separate “billion dollar”live cattle deal with China.
Free trade deals are force multipliers. Deals beget deals - in large part because sitting down and discussing them warms even the coldest of inter-national relationships.
Australia has been on a roll.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine at the time, “This is the kind of thing that happens when you have a government that’s focused on economic outcomes…So we have a Free Trade Agreement with Japan, Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, working on one with China.”
And there are so many other nations with which to trade.
Australia's next priority is to conclude a comprehensive trade partnership deal with India, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday during a state visit to Canberra by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi….
"We want to go further and that's why the next priority for Australia is a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India," Abbott said.
"If I may say so, this is a moment in time. This is the time to get this done."
Indeed it is. And we too should strike while the iron is hot.
For instance - we Conservatives loathe our domestic Farm Bill. For many, many good reasons. Not the least of which - it is terrible domestic policy that has begotten terrible international policy.
(Our domestic Farm Bill) has been for seventy or so years a Government-Knows-Best train wreck. To alter slightly Ronald Reagan’s line:
“Government’s view of the (farm) economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Over those seven decades-plus, our lather-rinse-repeat anti-free-market farm policy warped the emerging global farm market. The world’s growers saw our bad moves –and matched them. Subsidy-for-subsidy, tax-for-tax, protectionism-for-protectionism.
Seven decades later, we have a worldwide Crony Socialist nightmare mess.
An inter-governmental regulatory arms race. Not good.
We Conservatives have tried for at the very least three decades-plus to unilaterally disarm. The results? Not good.
Unwinding the government’s crop protectionism regime has been a 30+ year-long nightmare mess. We who wish to make it all go away have in that time gotten absolutely nowhere in our attempts to do so.
The solution? We have lots of time - our heinous Farm Bill just passed, and is in place for another four-plus years. We should acknowledge what Australian Prime Minister Abbott has rightly noted - and get to negotiating.
The world’s (crop)-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist policies. And start horse trading.
“Brazil –how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.”
“Mexico –if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.”
Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.
We’ve tried unsuccessfully - for a very long time - to undo our Farm Bill from the inside out. We should now instead try to undo it from the outside-in.
We can - and should - global-free-trade the Farm Bill out of existence.
Editor's Note: This first appeared in Red State.