catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Agents-general

with 2 comments

I congratulate Bob Carr for eliminating NSW’s overseas trade posts. They were a waste of money. This article is humorous – we all like to take the piss out of those enjoying a taxpayer sojourn. There is certainly no case for the States to have overseas trade representatives. But the larger point is that we shouldn’t have any trade representation – it reflects a mercantalist viewpoint of exports being good, imports bad. This is an area where the grateful taxpayer is subsidising companies and often taking contingent risk (such as when EFIC is providing trade credit). Just because other countries have trade offices doesn’t mean Australia should. If businesses think that such an arrangement is worthwhile, what’s to stop them from setting up their own offices (which many do).

There may be an exception in some countries (certainly not the UK) where a government imprimatur is necessary to secure business. But, as the example of wheat exports to Iraq show, is it really in Australia’s interests to export to such countries?

But the first step is to get rid of those State trade offices.

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Written by Samuel J

January 9, 2010 at 8:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Boiled down to basics, exports are things we don’t want and are trying to get rid of. So an exporter, far from being the heroic paragon of virtue our skewed view of trade portrays him as, is nothing more than a glorified garbage truck driver.

    Albury Shifton

    January 9, 2010 at 10:45 am

  2. I’ve gotta say that this redeems Carr quite a bit in my eyes.
    I wonder if the agents have to report on what they have achieved?
    But I guess they can claim credit fr anything that happened…

    Ken Nielsen

    January 9, 2010 at 11:50 am


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