The Llaman Finance Minister was forced to defend the Llaman Government’s commitment to free trade. With many countries looking at their trade balances, the huge surpluses generated by the Llaman Nation are drawing unwelcome attention. At a recent Investment Forum hosted by the Llaman Government, the Finance Minister said “We completely believe in the benefits of free trade and we fight protectionism at every turn”.
However, one of the members of a trade delegation from a major Llama trading partner scoffed at this idea. “Their idea of free trade is not our idea”, he said. “They expect, even demand, full and free access to our markets but restrict access to theirs. There is no commitment to free trade here”.
The Llaman Finance Minister was forced to respond. “It is true we have some small restrictions in place to protect our economy, however, apart from these restrictions, foreign companies have complete access to our markets”, he said.
The Trade Delegate retorted: “Some small restrictions! We are banned from investing or trading in the banking, healthcare, media, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, mining, consumer goods, construction, transportation and technology sectors. What is left?”.
The Finance Minister hit back: “You can invest in property, we have some of the world’s most beautiful condominiums. No wait, you can’t invest in those because our Constitution does not allow foreigners to own freehold property. You could invest in agriculture, provided your operation met local restrictions such as farm sizes having less than 25 chickens and 10 goats. We need to protect local farmers you know”.
Shortly after, the trade delegation was seen leaving the conference early. The delegate involved in the exchange at the Forum was last seen in a heated exchange with two burly Government officials before freely volunteering to be taken away in an unmasked police car to an unknown destination.
At the Forum, the Government announced the appointment of five new trade ambassadors whose job will be to facilitate in-bound investment into the Llaman economy.