Talking fish can tell us about the status of the WTO

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Hello from Brussels, the home team entered the quarter-finals of the 2020 European Football Championship last night. Belgium, under the leadership of their inspiring head coach Roberto Martinez, See here At the peak of his career, 1-0 win Defeated Portugal in a game of worse temper and dirty tackles than the European Council summit.It happened to be just a few days ago in Portugal Six months The term of office as President of the Council of Ministers of the European Union has also expired. Sad times are undoubtedly an empty anticlimax in Lisbon.

Today’s main article focuses on fish, especially the World Trade Organization’s discussion of fisheries subsidies, which seems to be a professional subject, but is actually a broader test of the organization’s operations, flexibility, and leadership. Concession waters It’s about the impact of Brexit on British exporters. (Spoiler: bad.)

We hope to hear from you.Send any ideas to [email protected] Or email me [email protected]

An unusual problem, but the familiar divide between rich and poor

“Talking fish” is like talking on Fish, obviously: we are not hallucinations. By the way, in all fish stories, adding a bunch of fish puns to enliven the atmosphere (or lower the tone, depending on your point of view) is a traditional practice in all fish stories, but we will save them for the end as a treat .

The WTO has spent a long time on this issue. talks Presumably, the reduction of trade-distorting fishery subsidies that began in 2001 has come to an end.Ngozi Okonjo-Ivera, Director-General of the World Trade Organization call A special ministerial meeting was held on July 15 and asked for some progress.

Negotiations aimed at preventing overfishing are a big deal in themselves. The Food and Agriculture Organization monitors and tries to solve these problems, Say About one-third of the world’s fish resources are currently at biologically unsustainable levels, up from 10% in 1970. But they have also had a systemic impact on the WTO. The talks are also a test of the organization’s traditional consensus negotiation model, a test of whether rich and poor countries can overcome differences in rights and responsibilities, and a challenge to the organization’s ability to properly resolve environmental issues. It is also a challenge for Oconjo-Ivira. experiment. Less than four months of work) about leading from the front instead of waiting for consensus to emerge.

The WTO needs a victory.Its biennial ministerial plenary meeting was held at the end of November, and as usual, ministers and ambassadors are looking for things that can be declared a victory there (this does not help the United States Skeptical Many things can be done, and we will discuss this in a future newsletter).

Are the fisheries negotiations a candidate? Unfortunately, not at the current rate of progress. There is no shortage of vitality: the Colombian ambassador Santiago Wells, who presided over the meeting, was widely praised and described by us as the most diligent person in Geneva.He posted a Draft text For the May agreement, it will inevitably leave a lot of undecided things.

The talks still remain on familiar issues “Special and differentiated” (S&D) Treat developing countries, or define your own country in this way.Unsurprisingly, the differences include India, Usually in the fierce debate in the WTO, plus this time from the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific bloc. They want to exempt subsidy controls, including some support for “illegal, unreported and unregulated” fishing, partly to support small-scale “artisanal” operators (although there is no accepted definition), and at a distance of 200 miles Fishing the coast of the motherland. The group recently issued a proposal to provide some permanent exemptions to some developing countries.

In this case, S&D exceptionalism, already One of America Big complaint Regarding the WTO, it has a broader influence. The fisheries negotiations are very different from most negotiations there. Their goal is not just undistorted trade, but to provide global public goods, in this case, to protect the world’s marine ecosystems. An agreement that exempts countries from continuing to subsidize overfishing is not only protectionist and inefficient: it is also a threat to the health of the planet.

The need to protect fish stocks has been enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Objective 14.6 If you are taking notes). Although goals are often marginalized — the government has missed the 2020 fisheries deadline — these negotiations are about the WTO’s ability to serve the broader global governance system.

Unfortunately, this does not seem necessary enough transposition, Despite the intensive talks. It is not only India and other developing countries that have shown a sense of urgency.The U.S. decided to expand the scope of the talks last month Stipulate Oppose forced labor on fishing boats. Obviously, this is an admirable goal, but as other governments have pointed out, there are other agreements to resolve labor rights. The introduction of new issues at this stage is not what the US government is eager for.

Okonjo-Iweala’s gamble—referring to the ministerial meeting as a coercive action to force the government to make concessions—seems unlikely to be rewarded handsomely. She tried to use her famous energetic personal diplomacy to create a stubborn circle. On the one hand, reach an agreement; on the other hand, respect her commitment to the consensus model when she ran for director general. In all respects, her activity is impressive, but according to her own admission, it has not yet produced a major breakthrough.

Okonjo-Iweala told the ambassadors in Geneva last week: “This ministerial [meeting] It is an effort to try new things. Given the places we have been to in the past 20 years and the direction of development in the past 20 years, I think I will introduce one or two new ways of doing things. .. We do not expect lightning, but one or two lightning strikes will be good. “We will continue to look at the horizon, looking for signs of pressure buildup that may force change. But I have to say that the situation now looks pretty calm.

Finally, if you have been waiting, here is a pun: Negotiations, always a haddock, they are struggling, and according to an idea, have become ten-fish (freshwater fish, yes, we know) and need to be scaled up instead of Compared to solving the problem, but with almost no light, Cod knows when it can be done. fin.

Concession waters

Six months later, we are still uncertain about the exact impact of Brexit on British exporters. But it is fair to say that it is not good.The latest sign that everything is not going well seems to have appeared after the weekend result Opinion survey of the Association of Directors. You can find articles by Daniel Thomas and Peter Foster here. Here are a few snapshots. Claire Jones

To what extent do you expect the new British customs controls to have a negative impact on trade? (Percentage of responses) Shows that companies expect problems with the new EU customs controls on imports from the UK

Trade ties

Peterson Institute for International Economics There is an interesting paper Go out to see China attempts to weaken the extraterritorial enforcement of U.S. sanctionsThe conclusion is that the new measures proposed by Beijing will trap multinational companies between the countermeasures of the United States and China. Simultaneously, Taiwan with we will discuss Supply chain security with Digital trade In the negotiations scheduled for Wednesday, this is their first trade negotiation in five years.

Rana Foroohar has one Nice column why U.S. and Europe Need to make a Bennifer And rekindle their relationship.

For those who think they are Brussels-Foreigners who are trying to adapt to everything in Belgium, we think you will appreciate this economist ($) Article/survival guide. Claire Jones

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