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US Blocking Costa Rican Sugar Trade To Force IP Laws

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the if-you-can't-beat-em-squeeze-harder dept.

Government 441

For the last couple of days news has been trickling in about how the US is trying to ram IP laws down Costa Rica's throat by blocking their access to the US sugar market. Techdirt has a good summary of the various commentaries and a related scoop in the Bahamas where the US is also applying IP pressure. "The first is in Costa Rica, which is included in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Yet like with other free trade agreements that the US has agreed to elsewhere, this one includes draconian intellectual property law requirements. I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism — the exact opposite of 'free trade' — gets included in free trade agreements. At least in Costa Rica, a lot of people started protesting these rules, pointing out that it would be harmful for the economy, for education and for healthcare. So the Costa Rican government has not moved forward with such laws. How has the US responded? It's blocking access to the US market of Costa Rican sugar until Costa Rica approves new copyright laws."

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441 comments

"IP La" (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810730)

What's "IP La"? In Central America, wouldn't it be "La IP" instead?

Re:"IP La" (1, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810850)

Also, the link to TFA stops one letter short of the word "throat".
Look, if we spent all day poking around poorly written summaries and the overall lack of proofreading on this site... then, well... never mind.

Re:"IP La" (0, Troll)

ccarson (562931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811138)

"I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism — the exact opposite of 'free trade' — gets included in free trade agreements"

Dear Che Guevara,

"Free trade" doesn't mean a transaction where one party doesn't pay. Engineers work hard so that one day they can pay rent and afford to buy sugar at the grocery store. The destruction of business and the fabric of commerce doesn't work any better.

Re:"IP La" (1, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811378)

News for nerds? Oh well. Am I the only one who things that /. is featuring too many articles on politics lately? At least net neutrality and such are somehow a little bit nerdy, but THIS?

Never Fear!!!! (5, Funny)

SOOPRcow (1279010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810758)

We still have corn syrup!

Re:Never Fear!!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810796)

That's like saying (at the family barbeque), "we still have McDonald's".

Re:Never Fear!!!! (3, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810858)

Kind of makes you wonder how much of the presentation the lobbyists did included the HFCS and corn production losses to the amount of sugar being imported...

Re:Never Fear!!!! (0)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811052)

The US already has significant sugar tariffs, largely as a concession to Hawaii. This is one reason people substitute in corn syrup.

Re:Never Fear!!!! (5, Informative)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811318)

You joke, but that was my reaction: "The US government is making my sugar more expensive? Oh noes! Maybe now I'll have to pay 205% of the world market price for it instead of the usual 200! And maybe 99% of the crap we eat will be infested with HFCS instead of just 98%. What EVER will we do..."

So that's how it works! (5, Funny)

bearflash (1671358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810766)

In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.

"Free" like I say (4, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810772)

I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism -- the exact opposite of "free trade" -- gets included in free trade agreements...

Cuz increasingly that's all we have left. Especially now that money-printing business has hit the fan.

Re:"Free" like I say (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810802)

It's all because of a nice little corrupt procedure called lobbying. Those with the most money dictating law to the lawmakers over a nice lunch.

Re:"Free" like I say (3, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811250)

If it's about the money, then it's probably not directly the lobbying, it's the broken campaign finance system. Businesses can't be legally prevented from contributing to campaigns. Despite being a "virtual person" (I think the reason they're allowed to contribute), businesses don't appear to have the same contribution limit as individuals, basically it's getting the best of both sides of the equation.

Re:"Free" like I say (5, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811334)

You no longer live in a true democracy, corporations and their pet lobby groups have superceded the rights of the citizens of the US in many ways, and the IP Mafiaa can push through things like ACTA and other draconian legislation because they have effective control of the government. Its not that clear cut mind you, I am not preaching paranoia, but corporate interests have a disproportionate influence on the laws that are being enacted, and its not in the interests of the average citizen IMHO.
I'm Canadian, so I don't have the legal option but isn't tossing out your government and replacing it with a better one a legal option down there in the US?

Re:"Free" like I say (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811040)

Cuz increasingly that's all we have left. Especially now that money-printing business has hit the fan.

Yes, with so many of the other things the U.S. has exported having been replaced by goods from China, it really shouldn't be unexpected to see heavy protection of an industry that generates major export income.

It's interesting to note that the Chinese appear to be suppressing Avatar which, while extremely popular, is effectively being ordered off the screens after a short run to make way for a local production. They're doing it in a sneaky way by ordering that only the 3D version be shown, even though there's a very tiny percentage of theaters capable of showing in 3D. The local film set to start is not a 3D film.

http://www.danwei.org/rumors/avatar_ousted_for_confucius.php [danwei.org]

Sugar middlemen... (4, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810786)

Makes me want to setup shop on an island to buy sugar from Costa Rica solely for the purpose of reselling it to the US so Costa Rica can maintain their dignity.

And any other resource for that matter... maybe some type of ship exchange like you do with Propane. Hell, I could corner the market on all sugar imports so they won't be able to tell how much of it is Costa Rica sugar...

Re:Sugar middlemen... (3, Interesting)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811132)

You would be doing good and you would get rich. And you would prove that the market always find a way :-)

Re:Sugar middlemen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811372)

I'd suspect Mexico would already have this covered if Costa Rica wants to do the business. I've seen plenty of candy and sugary beverages from Mexico, varying from Mexican Coca Cola (Made with real sugar!) to other more exotic brands. And this is in a major grocery store in the midwest, it's not like I went to some ethnic specialty store. So they'd have no problem getting the sugar over here. Besides they're quite sucessful at moving much more illicit goods from elsewhere in South and Central America, so what would make them think that moving (contraband?) sugar would be any harder.

Nothing new, really. (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810806)

I can't think of many countries that don't use tariffs or trade restrictions to promote their own national interests in some way. It may be stupid and benefit no one in the end, but it's still within a nation's rights to take their ball and go home.

Re:Nothing new, really. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810964)

Costa Rica and the USA are members of the WTO. That does limit their freedom to take their ball and go home.

Re:Nothing new, really. (2, Insightful)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811108)

Costa Rica and the USA are members of the WTO. That does limit their freedom to take their ball and go home.

LOL @ U

WTO membership limits US trade freedom in the same way speed limits "limit" the speed of the richest most powerful citizen in a small town.

Even if they get caught speeding, worst case is they just pay the fine and speed away...

Re:Nothing new, really. (5, Insightful)

jvillain (546827) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811112)

Have to agree. If you think a country is in violation of the WTO obligations then you take your case to the WTO, not act unilaterally. Why any country would bother signing any agreement with the US any more is way beyond me. They never hold up their end of any agreement any more. Every day I dread ACTA more and more and more.

In America (0, Redundant)

Njoyda Sauce (211180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810808)

1) you get the sugar
2) you get the power
3) you get the women

No rules have been defined outside of the US it seems.

Re:In America (0)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811156)

1) you get the sugar
1a) Profit
2) you get the power
2a) PROFIT!
3) you get the women
3a)Profit?

No rules have been defined outside of the US it seems.

Fixed that for ya...

Legality (2, Insightful)

Uranium-238 (1586465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810830)

I was going to say "is that even legal?" but since it's part of their trade agreement I suppose it was to be expected, but that's still pretty low of the US to block access to the sugar market. Pro tip: sell your sugar to to Europe!

Re:Legality (1)

clam666 (1178429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811090)

Yeah, the Costa Rican's are really screwed, they'll have the healthiest, most attractive people on the planet with great bodies and almost no diabetes to speak of.

They should just open nude beaches and a health food paradise to make up for the "lost" expense of poisoning their own people.

Re:Legality (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811438)

Really this strikes you as a low blow.

Costa Rica: "We aren't going to pay for American IP."
USA: "We aren't going to buy Costa Rican products then."

Seems like a reasonable reaction. If they aren't going to pay for our products why should we continue buying theirs?

Level playing field (5, Insightful)

acomj (20611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810834)

US produces IP and wants to protect it.
Sugar being a tangible item is what Costa Rica produces.
You want to trade with the US you should play by US rules. The US want to trade with Costa Rica we play by Costa Rican rules, thus the trade agreement.

I see nothing wrong here.

Why these trade rules aren't being used to enforce environmental agreements and not IP ones is somewhat beyond me.

 

Re:Level playing field (5, Informative)

xs650 (741277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810954)

"Why these trade rules aren't being used to enforce environmental agreements and not IP ones is somewhat beyond me."

Because the US doesn't want to upgrade to Costa Rican environmental standards.

Re:Level playing field (4, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811006)

The problem occurs when you disagree with American IP laws.. US Patents are ridiculous, Copyright terms are way too long.. and punishments for infringement are far too severe.

Re:Level playing field (0, Flamebait)

nawitus (1621237) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811092)

You see nothing wrong in a superpower bullying a small country through economic means? Well, that certainly sounds like an American way to do things, i.e. acting like an asshole.

How about, BECAUSE THEY STILL OUR SHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810838)

If your neighbor stole your shit, would sit back and take it like a pussy, Flanders? Yes, you would, but if anybody is doing any stealing around here, it's me.

Homer

Re:How about, BECAUSE THEY STILL OUR SHIT! (2, Funny)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811248)

When they STILL our shit, what do they make?
I know stills are used to produce alcohol and perfume, but our shit sure is not perfume.
Maybe they use it to make our beer? Foreigners claim it tastes like ----. ;)

Ahhh, If we can't laugh at ourselves, what can we laugh at.

And so (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810842)

That government of the corporations
By the corporations
For the corporations
Shall not perish from the Earth

Open a online betting place there and sue the us f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810848)

Open a online betting place there and sue the us for blocking them us banks under the trade laws.

Color me underwhelmed. (4, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810852)

US pushes around Central American country and gets away with it because we are their biggest market. Gee, that's only been the story of, what, the past 150 years?

Re:Color me underwhelmed. (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811150)

Except now China is the biggest market, and like other imports we've blocked the Chinese market will absorb the surplus. Also like a poster above mentioned, what is keeping China from importing Costa Rican sugar and re-branding it as Chinese sugar? China doesn't care about IP law; it looks like a match made in heaven.

Re:Color me underwhelmed. (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811370)

what is keeping China from importing Costa Rican sugar and re-branding it as Chinese sugar?

Because transporting it across the Pacific, twice, eliminates any price advantage?

Re:Color me underwhelmed. (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811234)

No, its been that way since the dawn of recorded time. You know why? Because thats the way it works, the big guy sets the rules. This is nothing new. This is nothing unique to America. It will continue long after America is no longer of any importance at all.

Just figuring this out now ... did you bother to go to your high school history class?

Just because they were paranoid... (5, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810860)

... doesn't mean they were wrong.

Congratulations, the West was so focused on preventing communist totalitarians from taking over the world we've let capitalists move in and fill the niche.

The One World Government is here. But it's not a communist state, it's a kleptocracy.

(Hey, but at least we have Avatar and deep fried butter to distract us.)

Re:Just because they were paranoid... (0, Offtopic)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811082)

Deep fried butter is so yesterday. Fried cornflour covered butter is where it's at. (Some folks call them Corn Butters.)

Free trade (5, Interesting)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810870)

I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism — the exact opposite of "free trade" — gets included in free trade agreements.

You misunderstand the meaning of free trade/the free market. It's free as in free for the more advanced economies, but not for the rest. Historically, countries like Europe and America (and others) have strengthened their economies by violating free market principles, and enforcing them on others.

Re:Free trade (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810996)

Quick, someone call Encyclopedia Britannica, National Geographic, NewsWeek, the UN and any other interested parties, Europe just got united to a country!

Seems like you've got the scoop of the millennia, congratulations sir.

Re:Free trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811144)

Are you saying that the European Union isn't a political union?

Re:Free trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811358)

"countries like Europe and America (and others)." Hey, Europe and America are not countries. But I agree with you on the rest. This world is no longer ruled by countries but by companies instead. It's all about misdirection. That's what patriotism is all about, let's fight against countries!!! Ohh, BIG CORPORATIONS! Not a problem; they belong to my country. Yeaaahhh righhht :)

Maybe the government should have (1, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810872)

actually read and thought about the damn agreement before signing it.

Sugar (1)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810878)

Is it just me or if this comes to a standoff the US will lose? I seem to recall a story that US manufacturers of products like Chocolate Bars begging to increase import because they couldn't maintain quota with the amount of sugar available to them (through homeland growers & laws limiting import). So when they try to block Costa Rican import for their arcane laws will they crack when major US corporations come knocking on their door demanding to know where their product is supposed to come from.

This story just shows how the government is run by lobbies who have the government push their agenda. I just hope it goes both ways where those who are effected by the import ban speak just as loud as the media corporations.

Re:Sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811076)

I must disagree with you. I sincerely doubt that Cadbury, Hershey, and M&M/Mars have the money^Wpolitical clout of the MPAA and RIAA.

Re:Sugar (1)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811408)

I didn't say they were equal, I just hope they speak up so that government understands that this isn't a one sided situation where no one else is effected by RIAA/MPAA lobbying.

US telling another nation what to do? (1)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810892)

It's just the US telling(forcing) another nation to bend to its will. Nothing new.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810904)

We should buy their goods without any concern that they are stealing our goods?

"It's not good for our business to actually pay for the American software that lets us do our jobs, but they should pay full price for all of our sugar!"

Free trade not free property (3, Informative)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810912)

While I believe I agree with you in general sentiment, that is that US IP laws are so long term and non permissive as to be more a hinderance to development than an incentive; the statement in the summary, quoted below makes no sense.

I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism — the exact opposite of "free trade" — gets included in free trade agreements.

Intellectual property laws being uniform across a free trade so is REQUIRED for free trade of intellectual property and clearly not 'the exact opposite of free trade.' If laws differed between member nations then one nation would be able to use intellectual property to manufacture their goods which was prohibited by other members thus creating an unfair advantage. This would be most dramatic if the intellectual property was produced in one nation under its laws then used without license by another nation to effectively eliminate the benefits of the intellectual property protects. These protections are for the creators not for the nations (thus not protectionist in the traditional sense). Free trade is to stop nations from creating safe havens for their producers by erecting unfair barriers to trade not to allow anyone to take whatever IP they want and use it as they see fit.

Re:Free trade not free property (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810992)

Free trade is to stop nations from creating safe havens for their producers by erecting unfair barriers to trade not to allow anyone to take whatever IP they want and use it as they see fit.

Free trade is where I say 'hey, I've got this widget, you want to buy it?' and you say 'sure, here's $10' and we exchange cash for widget, without the government interfering at any point.

You don't need huge treaties for free trade, you just need governments to get out of the way.

Re:Free trade not free property (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811106)

You need a little more than that. Governments aren't the only entities that interfere with free trade.

Re:Free trade not free property (3, Insightful)

robo45h (660508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811142)

Free trade is where I say 'hey, I've got this widget, you want to buy it?' and you say 'sure, here's $10' and we exchange cash for widget, without the government interfering at any point.

You don't need huge treaties for free trade, you just need governments to get out of the way.

Sounds nice but is completely incorrect. A huge percentage of the present US economy is based on intellectual property: computer software, television shows, movies, music, the designs of complex things (computer chips, etc.).

The only way to generate money from IP is to use governments to create and enforce laws. Otherwise, people will just make free copies of things.

Now, note that if you want to say that this is OK, that is fine, but it's a completely different argument. You would be destroying the present US economy and our present bad economic situation and huge US debt would be made much, much worse. The argument at hand is the /. author's comment of whether IP should be part of a free trade agreement, and the answer is an unequivocal "yes." Since one of the biggest things the US exports ("trades") is IP, it can only be "yes."

Also note that there are different flavors of IP: trademarks, copyrights, patents. Mostly what we're talking about here is copyright, so let's not get into the software patent quagmire.

Re:Free trade not free property (5, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811302)

The only way to generate money from IP is to use governments to create and enforce laws.

Meaning: before IP was invented, just a few hundred years ago, writers made no money. Which is, of course, absurd. IP is a scam, as much as religions or the war on drug.

Re:Free trade not free property (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811368)

What about when a company in country A spends 5 or 6 billion dollars developing something, then country B ignores the investment and costs involved and just lets anyone who wants to copy it with no restriction?

What do you think happens when next time around the company says 'fuck it, the rest of the world will just copy what we did and we'll never make back what we put into developing it' and then they just stop making new things. Now everyone suffers, because of 'free trade' as you put it.

Contrary the the utterly ignorant opinion most of slashdot has, IP protection has its place and its usefulness when done within reason.

If you want to get pissed off, then be pissed off at the drug companies who use federal grant money or research done at Universities to patent things and make a fortune off of them.

IP theft is still theft. Are you okay with pirates (the kind with ships and guns) too? You'd be okay with a supply ship carrying your things across the ocean getting 'free traded' (literally) right into someone elses hands?

Fine then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810994)

How about the USA adopting Costa Rica's IP laws instead. Im betting they couldnt screw it up as bad as we have if they tried. (and Im talking REALLY TRIED)

Re:Free trade not free property (3, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811068)

If laws differed between member nations then one nation would be able to use intellectual property to manufacture their goods which was prohibited by other members thus creating an unfair advantage.

That's only unfair if the other nations' laws are themselves fair. And of course, what's fair can vary quite a lot depending on one's circumstances. You're essentially suggesting the equivalent of a flat tax, where everyone is taxed the same amount in currency, regardless of ability to pay or the ratio of one's overall income or wealth to the amount of the tax. It's generally accepted that progressive taxes are more fair, where the amount you pay is proportional to the amount you have and can afford. Why shouldn't we try a similar model here? Given that copyright laws govern importation already, which avoids the problem of arbitrage, what's so bad about this? Further, shouldn't each nation strive to enact laws that best serve its own people? I'd be happy to have Costa Rica decide for itself what sorts of copyright laws would best serve Costa Ricans, so long as the US was similarly free of pernicious influences that result in a law that isn't as good for its people as possible, whether those influences are from without or within.

Re:Free trade not free property (3, Insightful)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811208)

IP laws are a construct of the state. They artificially create a good that otherwise wouldn't exist. Free markets work great when you need to distribute a limited resource. They don't work so well when an artificial rule is used to keep an otherwise free and plentiful resource arbitrarily scarce to line the pockets of those with power.

Re:Free trade not free property (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811386)

Intellectual property laws being uniform across a free trade so is REQUIRED for free trade of intellectual property and clearly not 'the exact opposite of free trade

sure, so the USA should accept the Costa Rican IP laws and be made to implement them. Why should it be the other way round?

The problem is that the US laws are so corrupt that no-one, even in America, wants them (except the vested interest groups like the RIAA)

Free as in Freedom, not as in free beer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30810918)

I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism -- the exact opposite of "free trade" -- gets included in free trade agreements.

Because the US is trading the right for access to the US physical goods market against acceptance of the US's concept of Intellectual Property.
And that is because Intellectual Property is all the US has going for it nowadays.

And it is "Free" as in Freedom, not as in Free beer. You are free to trade in goods and IP.

And the sad thing is.... (2, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811012)

And the sad thing is that if Costa Rica tells us to go fsck ourselves, while it will hurt Costa Rica's economy, all it will do here is help sell even more High Fructose Corn Syrup and help the corn lobby here.

Re:And the sad thing is.... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811436)

And other than idiots like yourself who think theres something wrong with it, what exactly is the problem going to be with this happening?

Of course, there is a lot of land in America that can be used for producing sugar, so we could also just grow our own cane and beats and make our own sugar if we want, to complement the HFCS usage just like now.

We stopped doing it because its far cheaper to let some little kid in the middle of BFE Costa Rica grow cane and ship it here than it is to pay some jackass ridiculous pay and benefits and meet all the requirements to do it legally in America.

Reality check: We don't need Costa Rica to get our sugar, but if you want it cheap than doing it in America with its stuck up over paid work force who thinks that actually requiring you to work while getting paid is wrong just isn't going to work out like you think it is.

Boycott Sugar (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811024)

Stop using it.

When the sugar companies start bitching, the congress critters will whine at obamanator to stop the embargo.

Re:Boycott Sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811222)

Economically, that is the wrong course of action.

by boycotting the sugar, you will end up with surplus of the commodity, which then reduces interest in importing more. The price of the sugar will fall domestically, while the artificial embargo prices will remain high, causing a serious loss of profit margin for costa rica.

The better course of action, is to make a run on sugar. Drive up demand so high that prices skyrocket. This would make costa rican sugar profitable, even at embargo trade sanction prices. It would also put a hot branding iron to the buns of congress to resolve the sugar demand problem, by removing the embargo.

If you couple this with a boycott of HFCS substitution products (read the back of every pre-packaged product, and always buy the one made with sugar, and never the one with HFCS, thus causing the first case scenario for companies trying to "adapt" around the shortage, and reinforcing the latter case scenario against congress via a domino effect.)

This approach would be very costly to the people orchestrating it (high demand, low availability == high prices), but it would certainly be possible to do. We can DDoS a whole fricking nation these days, why cant we pull off the equivalent in the material goods network? Embargoes like this one are the equivalent of a constipated network pipe, and are just as readily exploitable.

I think that Think Geek should retail "made with sugar" junkfood, in addition to their other geek products.

Funny: Captcha == "bowels"

Ok US complainers (4, Interesting)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811026)

How many of you know, specifically, your elected representatives' views on international trade?

And how many of you plan to claim you did, but really didn't,and had to look it up when I called you on it?

Re:Ok US complainers (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811184)

Am I still a hypocrite if I voted against him?

Re:Ok US complainers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811240)

Are you going to lie and pretend you knew his views on trade?

Cause liar trumps hypocrite.

US leader producer of Poor people around the world (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811032)

This is just wrong... US its just a Bully... President Chavez is right. Cant wait to see all the stupid replies to my comment.

Umm, so? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811074)

So, on /. we complain about China because they ignore copyright and patent law on everything, but the it's "let poor Costa Rica be!" when they violate the terms of their treaty and the US doesn't just roll over and ignore it?

I would be more sympathetic if they refused the treaty, and were then being pressured to accept it "or else". But here, they're just opting to comply with the parts of the treaty they like, and completely ignore the parts they don't. I fail to see how this could possibly be spun as a "good thing".

And the article's rant that "Copyright/patents aren't free trade" is just cynical, feigned ignorance as to what copyright/patents fundamentally are... Is this the libertarian version of Fox News or what?

Re:Umm, so? (2, Insightful)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811298)

Isn't part of it because we don't enforce the same rules on China? Where is the blocking of all the Chinese goods because they don't respect IP laws? If we held all countries to the same standard it probably wouldn't be news.

Re:Umm, so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811382)

The other side of that fickle little coin you just flipped into the crowd, is that it would set a precedent for the US to be forced to comply with certain unfortunate things in ACTA, should/when it get passed.

Our law makers have been pretty much left out of the deliberations and concessions meetings over ACTA, yet it is still going strong. If/When Acta passes (I am almost certain it will.), then the US has to draft legislation to satisfy the agreement's requirements (like that nasty 3 strikes business.)

If the US doesnt comply, we are hypocrites for what we are doing right now to Costa Rica.

I would rather see bullshit trade agreements like these rapidly abandoned, and so cheer on any nation that undermines their power.

Something's rotten in... (1)

lenzg (1236952) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811270)

Consider the following: Oscar Arias, current president of Costa Rica and the main politician behind CAFTA, owns the biggest sugar cane plantation in his country (called "Ingenio Taboga").

this move by the US government was well planned since they are directly affecting the business of their "partner" in Costa Rica. US government could easily get away with it.

Ever been outside the us ? (1)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811304)

I like how any program you can imagine is available in Mexico City for $5. I'm sure it is no different in the islands.... This just means more corn syrup for US ! Yea !

IP Laws (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811310)

The Government of the United States of America is a whore to corporate interests.

Canada (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811332)

I'm a Canadian, and I say send your sugar here and let's get rid of all the US corn-lobbyist-supported b.s. "corn syrop" and other related junk. Real sugar seems to actually be more healthy, and I'd be happy to see more of the real thing available here.

Freedom is simple, CAFTA is not (4, Insightful)

ral (93840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811344)

If you want to see a real free trade agreement, you need look no further than our own constitution:

Article I, Section 9. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another.

That's it. In contrast CAFTA is 3700 pages long. NAFTA is 2000 pages long. These agreements do not give freedom, they take it away.

Why is Sugar different than IP? (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811380)

Both have a cost to produce, Both are available for sale. Complaining that the US doesn't give Costa Rica the IP for free is the same as complaining that Costa Rica charges the US for sugar. It really is that simple.

The law of the deal (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811384)

The first is in Costa Rica, which is included in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Yet like with other free trade agreements that the US has agreed to elsewhere, this one includes draconian intellectual property law requirements

You knew that when you signed the treaty.

You knew what was coming when you began offering incentives to Intel, 20% of your exports in 2006. Costa Rica [wikipedia.org]

The big corporation that lives and breathes IP.

You want to sell coffee and bananas. You want what Intel and Glaxo and P&G have to offer.

You make the deal. You live by the deal.

Change We Can Believe In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811418)

Thanks Obama

ip law is defunct (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811442)

its a direct, unavoidable consequence of the rise of the internet

ip laws only make sense when they are a gentleman's agreement among a handful of publishers. they are completely unenforceable when every teenager in his basement is a publisher to anyone else at zero cost, for anything you want

the wise thing for costa rica to do is simply agree to whatever the usa demands ip law wise. and then its business as usual. which is: everything is available with no ip restrictions to anyone remotely familiar with a computer console

enforcement is impossible, even for the usa within its own borders, so who fucking cares what the lawyers and bureaucrats and corporations say? they've already been routed around

i'm not saying you shouldn't get upset at the arrogance and the audacity of the american demands, i'm saying a bully making demands without any actual ability to follow through on his threats is nothing you have to pay any respect to

you simply pay the asshole lip service, put a big smile on your face, say "yes" to whatever the asshole wants, and then its business as usual, which is: ip laws mean nothing. all of the posturing and threats and demands mean nothing. there's NO ENFORCEMENT POSSIBLE

  let all the corporate lawyers, midlevel bureaucrats amd other pointless yammering meat popsicles create all the ip laws and agreements they want

WHO FUCKING CARES. they can't enforce any of it. its the internet age. this is not vhs copy machines in a warehouse or cd duplicators in the closet. you can't shut down the internet

people: stop getting upset at these retards trying to enforce laws from a previous technological era and just igore them and their petty demands without any muscle behind them. they can't stop technological change. they are defunct, they just don't know it

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