Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Triangular trade in...potatoes
The only reason I'm posting these articles on the potato trade is that they are totally confusing. Lebanese potatoes cannot cross the Syrian border from Lebanon, but Egyptian potatoes can. No wait, the Egyptian potatoes were in fact Lebanese potatoes, because the real egyptian potatoes were sent to the Gulf by sea. Now why would the egyptian potatoes be in Lebanon to start with? well, you see there about 3 or 4 big potato traders who corner the market in Lebanon (I know them, I went with them to the negotiations for the agricultural calendar in Jordan a few years back). They import Egyptian potatoes when the market is low, store them, then sell them as fresh Lebanese potatoes to the Syrians and to the Gulf state. This infuriates the Syrians and the Gulf countries because of low quality produce. Every now and then Syria and the Gulf decide to stop importing potatoes from Lebanon and they close their borders and request quality tests. So the traders start crying and call onto the government and the minister and the politicians and blame the syrians and the other Arabs. Eventually, they promise not to do it again, and the borders open. Till next time. This has been going on for ages.