D’Oh Ha: Schwab’s Motormouth Diplomacy


The D’oh Ha Round: Genie likely to remain bottled?

Diplomatic … employing tact and conciliation <tried a diplomatic approach before using strong-arm methods> <a diplomatic way of dealing with a touchy personal relationship> –Webster’s 3rd International

Ugly American — stereotypical offensive American: a loud, boorish, nationalistic American, especially one traveling abroad, who is regarded as conforming to a stereotype that gives Americans a bad reputation. –Encarta

EUA fazem novas exigências e complicam acordo na OMC: Jamil Chade of the Estado de S. Paulo has been covering the scheduled resumption of the Doha Round of trade talks.

I read this yesterday in the print edition of the paper, but was unable to relocate it today using the paper’s Web site search engine (by Zap).

A “site:estadao.com.br +schwab” search on Google located it immediately, however. This happens all the time.

The Estadão should think about hiring a search provider whose search engine actually drives you to where you want to go.

O governo dos Estados Unidos enviou uma carta ao Itamaraty cobrando do Brasil a abertura dos setores de telecomunicações, energia, bancos, seguros e outros segmentos de serviços como condição para um acordo de liberalização do setor agrícola na Rodada Doha da Organização Mundial do Comércio (OMC).

The government of the United States has sent a letter to the Brazilian foreign ministry demanding that Brazil open its telecommunications, energy, banking, insurance and other service sectors as a precondition for a deal on liberalizing the agricultural sector in the WTO Doha Round.

A carta, assinada pela representante de Comércio, Susan Schwab, exige do Brasil sinais claros do que estaria disposto a abrir se ainda quer esperar algum resultado positivo para produtos agrícolas. Os americanos querem que restrições a investimentos sejam abolidos e empresas estrangeiras de serviços possam atuar sem qualquer limite que ameace seus investimentos.

The letter, signed by trade representative Susan Schwab, demands clear signals from Brazil that it is inclined to open [its markets] if it expects some positive result on agricultural products. The Americans want the restrictions on foreign investment to be abolished and foreign service providers to be able to act without any limits that might threaten their investments. 

On Schwab’s tactless approach to trade diplomacy, see also

Países como Argentina, África do Sul, Índia e China também receberam a carta. “Fiquei surpreendido com o tom da carta”, confessou o embaixador da Argentina na OMC, Alberto Dumont. O chanceler argentino, Jorge Taiana, confirmou ontem seu desagrado com as negociações. “Há muitas exigências da parte dos países ricos e pouca oferta”, disse.

National like Argentina, South Africa, India and China also received the letter. “I was surprised at its tone,” confessed Argentina’s WTO represenative, Alberto Dumont. The Argentine foreign minister, Jorge Taiana, confirmed yesterday his displeasure over the negotiations. “There are many demands from rich nations and very little on offer,” he said.

A carta de Schwab significa mais um obstáculo no caminho do acordo na OMC. O processo está paralisado em razão do desentendimento entre países ricos e emergentes em torno da abertura dos mercados para bens industriais. Brasil, Argentina e outros países emergentes alegam que americanos e europeus exigem uma abertura que poderá afetar suas indústrias de forma perigosa, até produzindo desemprego.

The Schwab letter presents yet another obstacle on the road to an accord in the WTO. The process is frozen due to a falling out between rich nations and emerging nations regarding the opening of markets for manufactured goods. Brazil, Argentina, and other emerging nations allege that the Americans and Europeans are demanding an opening that might affect their industries in a dangerous way, even generating unemployment.

A abertura do setor de serviços está prevista para ser negociada. Mas a carta enviada nos últimos dias ao Itamaraty deixa claro que, além de ter de aceitar a abertura de seu mercado de bens industriais, o Brasil também teria de acatar uma liberalização no setor de serviços.

Opening the services sector is on the agenda for negotiations. But the letter sent in recent days to the foreign ministery makes it clear that, in addition to having to accept an opening of its market for manufactured goods, Brazil will also have to accept a liberalization of the services sector.

Não por acaso, as chances de que uma reunião ministerial possa fechar parcialmente um acordo até abril estão se desfazendo em Genebra, sede da OMC. A idéia era convocar os ministros nos próximos dois meses para tentar chegar a um entendimento sobre as fórmulas que regulamentariam o ritmo da liberalização.

Not coincidentally, the chances that a high-level meeting will reach partial agreement by Abril are falling apart in Geneva, where the WTO is headquartered. The idea was to invite cabinet ministers in the next couple of months to try to reach an understanding on the formulas that would regulate the pace of liberalization. 

I am not an expert on these matters, mind you, but I would tend to think that the rhetoric and tactics of gunboat diplomacy are not very well attuned to the Zeitgeist.

That Costa Rican referendum, where the U.S. looked to be complicit with electoral illegalities — as it did in Mexico in 2006 — has probably not gone unnoticed by South American diplomats.

Schwab is also quoted as referring to the BRIC nations and others as the “adolescents” of the WTO, who need to be taught some responsibility.

What ever happened to “talk softly but carry a big stick”?

In this case, it seems to be more a matter of talking loudly to compensate for the fact that your credibility and leverage have sunk to zero.

I am all for my compatriots being able to come in and do good business down here — I tip my hat to the stars and stripes on the Fourth of July with as much sincerity as anyone — but take my free advice: the Ugly American syndrome is alive and well.

These people have good reason to be touchy — they think we helped overthrow their democratically elected government in 1964, and generally consigned the continent to misery for four decades. Those economic miracles measurably did not pan out, you know.

And they have not forgotten it, either.

And this touchiness tends to cross party lines.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Ask the Chicago Mercantile Exchange how it managed to sign a deal with the BM&F here that will install 90,000 of its trading screens in Brazil — a fascinating local deal story of late.

If I were any of the sectors lobbying for an opening of the Brazilian markets, I would be rushing to insist that these jerks do not speak for me.

They seem to speak for Chiquita.

And Chiquita is a confessed funder of drug-running death squads of various types.

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