Corruption in the EU

Now there\’s a surprise!

In a six-month investigation, The Sunday Times tape-recorded Fritz-Harald Wenig, a trade director, passing secrets to undercover reporters posing as lobbyists for a Chinese businessman seeking insider information.

Wenig discussed the possibility of payment or taking a lucrative job with the businessman. He said he would decide further once he had provided “results”.

He leaked the names of two Chinese companies likely to get special status if the EU imposes a protective tariff barrier against Chinese candle-makers. The information is potentially worth millions to those trading with these companies.

When government gets to make these sorts of decisions then of course there will be those who will take advantage of the money that can be made. The only way to stop such corruption is to remove the ability of government to make those decisions.

It\’s an underappreciated point that free trade reduces corruption, just yet another reason to support it.

4 thoughts on “Corruption in the EU”

  1. As PJ O’Rourke put it: “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things bought and sold are legislators. “

  2. Could you provide your source on the proposition that “free trade reduces corruption?” Is this a personal observation or one based on some scholarly literature? Thanks in advance.

    Tim adds: Personal observation. The years I spent in, for example, Russia, where there were more rules about what you could and could not import or export, as compared with my native Britain, coincided with requests for more bribery. This is not conclusive, of course, but I would be amazed to be told that it was entirely coincidence.

  3. I can see how there may be some relationship between “free trade” countries and their degree of corruption. But it becomes more problematic if we ascribe a causal claim to one of these as in “free trade reduces corruption.”

    It’s an interesting proposition, worthy of investigation, and unlikely a coincidence, but not a certainty either. If so, the point may not be as underappreciated as claimed above, since first we need to establish that it is a point.

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