In case you wondered why Europe’s indignant about the Tariffs Trump slapped on aluminium and steel imports, just consider the outright ban on our catfish family – gilbakka, cuirass, hassar (yes, it’s a catfish!) and “catfish”.
It’s all about restricting world trade, which isn’t kosher. For hundreds of years, these developed countries had been pushing “free trade” — which means not imposing measures that would increase costs at the point of entry — when THEY had stuff they wanted to push down our throats. But now that the shoe’s on the other foot, they’re throwing up barriers faster than you can say “Mexican Wall”!!
Now, after WWII, there were attempts to regulate these regulations – first by GATT and then the WTO — and to approve some “reasonable” ones. Trump tried to justify his tariffs by claiming the exception of “national security”!! They don’t have enough steel to make those drones they fly over Afghanistan? Now, if importing steel and aluminium cheaply was undermining American “national security”, why make an exception for Canada, who’s the largest exporter to them? Jeez!!
Sadly, the REAL reason for Trump’s action is to influence an election that’s going on right now in Pennsylvania – where several factories that were big in steel manufacturing had to be closed down because the imports were cheaper. So other countries (not to mention US consumers, who will have to pay higher prices for stuff that has steel or aluminium) will have to suffer just so the Republicans don’t lose a Congressional seat!! But then the Americans do have a saying: “All politics is local”!
And you can’t get more local that this ban on our catfish family! Ostensibly, the Americans are saying the WTO allows restriction trade because of “sanitary (animals) and phytosanitary (plants) threats. These are: “Measures that are applied to protect human or animal life from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins, or disease-causing organisms in their food; to protect human life from plant- or animal-carried diseases; to protect animal or plant life from pests, diseases, or disease-causing organisms; to prevent or limit other damage to a country from the entry, establishment, or spread of pests; and to protect biodiversity”.
To make this stick for catfish, the US had to change the rules of the game by moving it to an agency that imposes much stricter tests!! But like with the steel and aluminium tariffs, there are domestic reasons for the sly move. In this case, the US catfish producers in the US southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas, facing cheaper imports from Vietnam, pressured the federal government. And presto!!…the ban!!
But look at it this way: We’ll now be able to afford gillbakka here!!
You could’ve knocked your Eyewitness over with a feather!! on the front page of a local daily was splashed a picture of President Granger kowtowing to the “racist” and “genocidal” Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi!! Well, at least that was how his Director of Public Information (DPI), Imran Khan, had described Modi and his government after Jagdeo and 21 MPs of Indian Origin went to India on a PIO meet!
And imagine the Guyanese delegation had Indians from the PNC and AFC also!!
And not only that. Granger, the very proud person of African descent, jetted off to India even though he’d been slated to deliver the keynote address to the global meet on the “International Decade of People of African Descent” at the Marriott!! And guess who he handed over his presidential baton to – none other than Carl Greenidge, who almost took him to the mat for the PNC leader’s spot.
So is Modi kosher now that Granger has genuflected to him?
UG just gave over 10 acres of its prime real estate in perpetuity to the private-public JOF Haynes Law School, being pushed by AG Basil Williams and two private-school outfits from Jamaica. And we don’t even know if a contract was drafted, much less signed!! Exxon redux??