Sunday, April 24, 2005

European Union 1 World Poverty 0

It seems ironic that on "World Poverty Day" the European Union (EU) is warning China to limit its textile exports to Europe as their exports have surged 500% since an international quota system came to an end in January. This is because France is concerned that 7,000 French textile jobs are at risk if action is not taken. France's concern demonstrates a problem that the first world will increasingly face in the future and will need to resolve. Should the First World protect it's own workers from third world competition or condemn the Third World to continuing poverty?

By warning China, the EU is doing two things. Firstly, it is deciding that European consumers are to be prevented from buying too many cheap imported T-shirts and pullovers but must buy more expensive domestically produced clothes instead. Secondly, by limiting these clothing imports, they help to slow growth and further development in China's textile industry. As Africa tries to emerge from poverty by exporting to the European Union, will the EU defend it's workers too or ignore it's workers and help to reduce African poverty?

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