Representatives from the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement are in Hawaii this week trying to close the deal. For trade wonks like myself, there are some wryly amusing twists to the endgame. One of my favorites is US negotiators insisting that Canada must reform its supply management system for dairy and allow more imports, while conceding that maybe the United States could let in just a wee bit more foreign sugar, as long as it doesn’t disrupt the US supply management program for sugar! Being a big, powerful country is great.
But if you’re a small country, and particularly a relatively poor one, trade negotiations are trickier. And if you are a poor country outside the negotiations, you have no say at all on how the negotiations will affect your interests.