10 September 2003

The Independent | Facts and figures on world trade:
The more value the poor try to add to their goods, the more the tariffs escalate. Raw cocoa beans can be imported to the EU and US without tax. But if the poor process it themselves into cocoa butter the rate in the EU goes up to more than 10 per cent. If they turn it into cocoa powder it is more than 15 per cent. If they turn it into chocolate it's more than 20 per cent. This explains why Germany processes more cocoa than Ivory Coast, the largest producer; and why Britain grinds more cocoa than Ghana. Developing countries produce 90 per cent of cocoa beans, but less than 5 per cent of chocolate.

Brazil estimates that it could earn $10bn more from agricultural exports this year were it not for trade barriers in the West. Lifting restrictions on Mozambique's imports into the EU would boost the country's earnings by almost $100m a year - nearly as much as it receives in European aid.

Rich governments now spend $1bn a day on subsidies to farmers - six times what they give in aid to poor countries. These subsidies generate large surpluses of sugar, cotton and other products, which are then dumped on world markets.

This is known as free trade, at least according to the ministry of love types who decide trade policy in the First World.

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