We cannot get away with illegal subsidies

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

It would be difficult (and should be impossible) to argue against the benefits of international free trade.

Disagreeing with comparative advantage is a little like denying the laws of gravity.

World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules are hard earned: overcoming ill-informed and nervous governments and battling against powerful lobbyists. The rules are designed to stop governments cheating.

Until we leave the EU, we remain in a protectionist tariff union.

Tariffs and subsidies act against our national economic interests. EU tariffs are particularly aggressive towards poorer developing countries. They slow down change, reinforce inefficiency and embed low productivity.

Ultimately, subsidy simply benefits the customer, whilst removing capital from more productive sectors.

That is the rather obvious economic case for minimal subsidy.

The coverage of the Bombardier subsidies has ignored the general economic disadvantages of subsidy. But more importantly, it has ignored the probability that the UK and Canadian governments have cheated.

Also, the coverage has failed to mention that Brazil has slapped massive tariffs on Bombardier, with more countries to come.

We can’t get away with illegal subsidy nor should we be allowed to.

We can’t say its not fair because actually it is.

If Bombardier, UK and Canada are found to have cheated, if we lose over 4,000 jobs (which would be catastrophic for Northern Ireland), the blame does not lie with the USA nor Brazil but ourselves,

Ian Craig, Belfast BT9