U.S. relations with the WTO are still fragile
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Hi from Washington, the Thanksgiving holiday is coming to an end later this week. It caught my attention. American people like to eat marshmallows on sweet potatoes this holiday season, which sounds a bit too much.
In other news, our report today is slightly ahead of the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting next week, and we want to know whether the United States really cares about what happened in Geneva.
Dai is tight-lipped about everything in the WTO
Former President Donald Trump’s head of trade, Bob Lighthizer, often called the WTO a “failed organization.” Interviewed by “Financial Times” In January of this year, he hinted that there were “professional bureaucrats” everywhere in his body, and they focused on “the bureaucracy they did.” Moreover, he said that there are too many WTO members, and they are all blocked and blocked.
Fast forward to November. Lighthizer has been replaced by Katherine Tai, and we are now approaching the 2021 WTO Ministerial Conference. The question is: Is there any difference in Tai’s thinking?
Of course, she has different ways of speaking. At a roundtable meeting with reporters a few weeks ago, she seemed to be enthusiastic about reforming this embarrassed and battered multilateral institution. She said her “vision” is that “WTO members come to Geneva or anywhere, they may call together and show their honest self.” Members should be “ready to fight for the WTO vision you want.”
“It’s just restoring the WTO to the state it was four years ago and five years ago,” she added. “Frankly speaking, for a rapidly changing and developing world economy, it’s actually not possible to restore the energy we need. . It is getting farther and farther away from the starting point and reality of the WTO.”
But has the US really put forward any practical solutions that can stimulate such changes? The answer seems to be no.
A major issue in the US relationship between the WTO and Biden was related to the Appellate Body, which aims to resolve disputes between members. The United States effectively blocked it by blocking its new appointments because it does not like what it considers to be judicial ultra vires. A week before the key ministerial meeting, we still don’t know what Dai Bingguo thinks the reformed Appellate Body will look like.
This is the thing. Sitting in Washington, the WTO does not seem to be a big agenda item. While continuing its decades-long debate over fisheries subsidies, Washington is shocked by the idea that China is subsidizing its steel and dumping it to Europe and the United States. It is winning the race to make the world’s most advanced chips, and It is already far ahead in locking down the minerals and rare earths needed for the energy transition. Now, when it tries to recover from the pandemic by injecting large amounts of cash into the domestic economy, economic decision makers are also trying to find ways to catch up with China and ensure that the United States always has access to medicines, chips, minerals, and so on to make batteries.
It also threatens to undermine the terms of the recently signed agreement by offering people tax credits for electric vehicles, thereby disturbing allies (namely Mexico and Canada).
Geneva’s outdated consensus-based negotiation procedures seem to be far from the current concerns of the United States.
The pandemic tells us that if we don’t know it yet, everything can be changed in an instant.Adam Tuz Arguing in an article in the New York Times Adapted from his most recent book, Turn off, The world’s decision makers have shown us that they cannot manage the deeply globalized world they have created. He believes that part of the reason for this problem is that even when geopolitical tensions could be put on hold in the face of a common enemy, global institutions are powerless.
So, what do we hope for? Well, I hope to reach a fishery subsidy agreement. Jack Colvin, chairman of the National Foreign Trade Council, a business lobby group, said that if WTO members cannot do this, then “everyone may go elsewhere to deal with important trade issues.” There are many people saying similar things there. This feels like a critical juncture.
In addition, Alan Wolfe, the former Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization, said in a speech that the members of the agency should agree on two other “basic” projects and issue a statement on how countries should respond to the epidemic. , And make an appropriate overview of how countries should respond to the epidemic. How to deal with climate change in the field of trade. Earlier this month, both the United States and China participated in environmental trade negotiations that included fossil fuel subsidies.
There is a good sign, that is, the Thai General will visit India. India is part of the Brussels element of trade secrets likes to call the “embarrassed squad.” In other words, they blocked most things. Inu Manak of the Cato Institute, a think tank, pointed out that Dai Bingguo’s visit was very important given that many representatives expressed “frustration” with India and called on the United States to strengthen leadership and diplomacy.
However, in the end we still want to know whether Biden’s trade policy is a question of how to solve the problem. Appear I like multilateralism, while politely avoiding existing trade rules and investing domestically in areas such as electric vehicles and semiconductors. The progress of the WTO meeting may provide us with more clues.
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