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The Los Angeles Times this morning has a fascinating piece about how the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) – representing members that include Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot – is asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to enable a greater level of free trade by making it harder for countries to restrict foreign ownership of store and banks.

“These retailers say they are not making a back-door attempt to undo various countries' laws,” the LAT writes. “They say they are simply trying to get rid of protectionist barriers, such as size and geographic restrictions, that have unfairly hindered their growth, particularly in emerging markets such as China and India.”

And maybe, just maybe, already emerged markets such as California.

The curious part of the move by RILA is that if such free trade regulations were passed, it might actually also make it harder for US communities to pass local legislation restricting the building of superstores and big box units. Critics call such moves a “stealth attack” on grass roots democracy.
KC's View:
Hard to imagine a time when the WTO will be able to dictate local zoning and planning regulations not just in California, but everywhere in the US.

Hard, but not impossible.

Crazy world.