Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What's good for the goose

I find it continually amusing to see how America plays by the rules "what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander". What's even more amusing is how conservatives hold the US up as a bright shining light of all that is meant to be good in the world, and are prepared to completely overlook all the hypocracies inherent in the US way.

Reuters reports that a plan by Cyprus to put genetically modified food on separate supermarket shelves has angered the US. Damn - how can those nasty little Cypriots think they can make their own decisions about how to run their supermarkets? Washington responded to this highly subversive activity by warning Cyprus that the move could harm bilateral ties. In a letter to the Cypriot parliament our modern day masters said that these actions would stigmatise biotech goods and could contravene Cyprus' obligations as a World Trade Organisation member. Incidently, America is the leading developer and producer of agricultural biotech products.

Strange how when it comes to sticking to WTO rules, the US is quite happy to ignore its own obligations. Last week, Brazil said it was going to ask the WTO for permission to penalize the United States for its failure to comply with a WTO ruling against U.S. subsidies for cotton growers. In March this year, the WTO upheld a ruling condemning government help for cotton producers in the United States, saying that many U.S. programs include illegal export subsidies or domestic payments that are higher than WTO rules allow. The WTO gave Washington a June 30 deadline to end its illegal export subsidies and domestic payments. Brazil is currently trying to negotiate with the US, but if the negotiations fail, they want the WTO to penalise the Americans.

Well, one thing is for sure, I'm sure the US would love South African supermarkets where GM foods are hardly labelled at all. This despite being one of the leading GMO growers in the world.

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