Questioning GlobalizationJean-Bertrand Aristide 06 Apr 2004 22:45 GMT
What happens to poor countries when they embrace free trade? In Haiti in 1986 we imported just 7000 tons of rice, the main staple food of the country. The vast majority was grown in Haiti. In the late 1980s Haiti complied with free trade policies advocated by the international lending agencies and lifted tariffs on rice imports. Cheaper rice immediately flooded in from the United States where the rice industry is subsidized. In fact the liberalization of Haiti's market coincided with the 1985 Farm Bill in the US which increased subsidies to the rice industry so that 40% of US rice growers profits came from the government by 1987.