Sun, Apr 24, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Fruit subsidies a bad idea

By William Meldrum

Lin Shao-hui's letter (Letters, April 20, page 8) exhorts the Taiwanese government to market Taiwanese produce abroad. I have two objections.

First, the world is drastically oversupplied with fruit from China to Chile. This oversupply drives the price of fruit ever downward and consequently forces the sale of small farms to corporate fruit growers in order to attain economies of scale.

In order to be internationally competitive, Taiwanese produce prices would have to fall considerably, and growers here would not be able to survive.

Second, the success of such consolidation in developed countries is largely underpinned by mammoth agricultural subsidies in direct transgression of WTO regulations.

As I presume the writer is a taxpayer in the US, Lin should be keenly aware of this fact. As a taxpayer in Taiwan, I don't want my tax dollars put toward hand-outs for twilight industries.

If you miss the fruit so much, visit more often and contribute your tourist dollars. But please don't will the government to get enmeshed in suicidal subsidies for already ailing industries.

William Meldrum


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