Our first day in committee, we began quickly with our business. I was very excited to hear other people’s perspectives on the topics of free trade, even if they completely differed from mine. We ended up setting the topic to “Topic B: Barriers to Free Trade.”
Agriculture subsidies were the main topic of the day. Venezuela took a hard-line stance and declared that there would be no trade with the U.S. or E.U. if the subsidies were not eliminated or reduced. Moderated caucus after unmoderated caucus went back and forth over subsidies and their importance in free trade as well as how they affect developing nations.
Working papers 1, 2, 3
After lunch we received our first working paper. The main points, headed by Indonesia, were keeping some barriers for Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) in order to insulate themselves from the current economic crisis, and trading off tariff reductions for direct investment in infrastructure and aid.
Working paper 1.2 was really vague and poorly written. It called for nations to adhere to World Trade Organization (WTO) standards, give more time to developing nations and flexibility, as well as eliminate the excuse of the current global economic crisis as a crutch for barriers. My objections to this paper are that it doesn’t address the specifics necessary to facilitate free trade. Also, who will carry out sanctions if countries don’t adhere to the WTO?
Working paper 1.3 was the best developed of all three. It was written by the U.S., U.K., Malta, Czech Rep., France and Sweden. It called for a $15 billion reduction in subsidies for greater access to markets in LDC’s. The E.U. promised an 80% reduction in farm subsidies and 60% reduction in tariffs as well as a continuation of the Doha Rounds.
Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPS) was mentioned, and it was an issue we as the Holy See pressed for so that developing countries would not be jeopardized or penalized by intellectual property rights adherences.
The day ended there, and working paper 1.4 and 1.5 would be introduced the next day. That night nothing much went on – I pretty much found some dinner and passed out from being tired.