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October 17, 2005

Clinching the relationship between trade and IP woes

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I have argued in several different venues lately that much of the trouble we're having on international IP issues is driven by resentment over U.S. and E.U. agriculture policy.

No, I'm not saying that this is a new or novel observation. It's not original to me. But the point is lost on a lot of observers.

Brazil has now formally asked for permission to retaliate against U.S. IP industries because of U.S. cotton subsidies.

The point here is that Brazil knows, even if many U.S. policy makers do not know, where our economy is most vulnerable. They know that it is in the IP-related fields that our economy is globally-dominant, and that our future economic success lies in our creativity, not our labor or natural resources. And if we won't let developing countries have what they care about, they're not going to let us have what WE care about.

And, by the way, they're right. Our agriculture policies stink to high Heaven, and they are going to increasingly cause us international problems if we don't put an end to these stupid and counterproductive policies.

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