Moore reassurance

Call World Trade Organization director general Mike Moore an optimist.

The U.S.'s trade partners are fulminating that President Bush’s March decision to impose hefty tariffs on steel imports and his approval last month of a bill that almost doubles farm subsidies could derail ongoing trade talks. Several affected countries have filed protests with the WTO and threatened retaliation. But Moore, who responded to the U.S. farm bill by breaking precedent , joining with the heads of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to warn that rich-country protectionism could set back efforts to get poor countries to open their economies , insists that trade talks remain on track. “We’re in danger of a trade peace,” he says, citing, among other things, last month’s passage of fast-track trade negotiation authority in the U.S. Senate. “It is totally appropriate for countries to bring cases to the WTO and something that I would encourage. So, far from a trade war, you’ve got people using the process. This is a splendid thing.”