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Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 17:46 | SYDNEY
Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 17:46 | SYDNEY

Free trade matters



29 April 2008 12:21

On the spur of the moment yesterday I decided that Graeme Dobell's excellent post on the Australia-Japan trade negotiations needed some jazzing up to get the punters in. So I added a headline and a photo that played on how boring the whole subject is. If that managed to get a few people to click the 'more' button, great. But I now regret being so flippant. As economist Tyler Cowen argues in a NY Times op-ed on the rise of food prices around the world, the issue of agricultural protectionism has a direct bearing on whether a lot of very poor people starve or not.

So although it's tempting dismiss these free trade negotiations as wonkish esoterica, there is a lot at stake in the broader trade debate. Exactly how much became a point of difference between Cowen and another economist, Dani Rodrik, on their respective blogs. Rodrik's free trade scepticism is here, and Cowen's reply here

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