As you may know, the French are at it again. Struggling with their own lack of competitiveness, they figure it’s easier to drag everyone else down than it is to bring themselves up. Heck, their 35-hour work week is even making baguettes more expensive. What’s a Parisian to do? Clunky workplace regs are making things more expensive? Quel surprise!
Their latest idea is to levy a “green tax” on goods from countries who have not ratified the political (not environmental) document known as the Kyoto Protocol. You’ll remember this is the one that failed 95-0 in the US Senate when Al Gore was President of the Senate and Bill Clinton was President of the US. And, never mind that most signatories to the Protocol will miss their targets by a mile. What the heck, at least they signed it. Like we said, it’s a political document with all the weight of a Liz Taylor marriage license. (Somebody explain that joke to the young ‘uns, OK?)
But not so fast. According to this article in the Financial Times, Peter Mandelson, the EU’s trade commissioner has dismissed the idea out of hand, saying this not only is a likely breach of trade rules but also, “not good politics.” He also said that the proposal would be “highly problematic under World Trade Organization rules and almost impossible to implement in practice”.
So we say, “Bravo” to Peter Mandelson for this clear-headed move to protect the world trading system against the latest bone-headed proposal from the French. Maybe they oughta just stick to the food.
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