Ridiculous trade rules marginalise the world’s poorest
Friday, June 11, 2010
Open markets allow people to trade their way out of poverty, but rich countries continue to impose harmful restrictions upon imports from developing countries, even if those imports are technically allowed “duty-free” access. For example, as a report from the Centre for Global Development shows, rules of origin clauses prevent Haitian apparel traders from benefiting from duty free access to the Canadian market if they use fabric produced in the US in their garments (which they are incentivised to do because of US trade preference policy). This is all the more perverse seeing as the US fabric would have been eligible for duty free access to Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement had it been directly exported from the US!
The arcane tangle of stipulations, conditions and quotas that currently plague developing countries’ export opportunities need to be scrapped. Only by giving genuinely open access to the richer markets will impoverished people be able to trade, develop and proposer.