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March 14, 2005

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Yet Another Tom Friedman Edition)

I cannot stand it. I really cannot stand it. I'm reading along, thinking that this time Tom Friedman has gotten it right, that yes, reducing trade barriers is good:

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: New Signs on the Arab Street: Egyptian workers... into the streets. They were furious. They were enraged. Why?

They were not included in the new trade deal with Israel.

Now, that's a new Middle East. On Dec. 14, Egypt, Israel and the U.S. signed an accord setting up three Qualified Industrial Zones (Q.I.Z.'s) in Egypt. The deal stipulated the following: Any Egyptian company operating in one of these Q.I.Z.'s that imports from an Israeli company at least 11.7 percent of the parts, materials or services that go into the Egyptian company's final product can then export that finished product to the U.S. duty free. This is a big deal for Egypt, which, unlike Jordan and Israel, does not have a free-trade treaty with the U.S. As part of the accord, the U.S. named Greater Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said the three Q.I.Z.'s...

And then I hit the next sentence:

It had to be limited to only three municipalities so that the U.S. would not be swamped with Egyptian exports...

"Swamped with Egyptian exports"?!?! Jeebus save us! Egypt's current exports to America are less than $3 billion: if they were to triple they would still be only $30 per American per year--and only 1/150 of total worldwide exports to America. Egypt's annual GDP is $75 billion dollars (yes, that's less than $1000 per capita per year). If *everything* produced in Egypt this year were shipped to us, that would be $250 per head here in America and less than 5% of our expected imports this year.

"Swamped"? Feh.

Posted by DeLong at March 14, 2005 08:14 PM