Tags: world trade organization | uncertain | trump | disdain | multilateral deals

WTO Uncertain About Future US Trade Stance Ahead of Conference

Image: WTO Uncertain About Future US Trade Stance Ahead of Conference
A board indicates the entrance to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland. (Jean-Pierre clatot/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 10 December 2017 10:47 AM

The World Trade Organization is struggling to figure out how to deal with the United States’ newfound protectionism — and disdain of multilateral trade deals, Politico reported.

Ahead of a four-day conference for government trade officials from more than 160 countries convening Sunday in Buenos Aires, one analyst called the change of stance by the United States jarring for the global organization.

“For 70 years you’ve had a captain of the football team who suddenly doesn’t even show up for the practices,” Scott Miller, a trade policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Politico. “So players are looking around and saying, ‘Now what? What do we do?’”

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer will attend the conference, where he’s expected to speak Monday — a speech being closely watched to see if there’ll be indications the United States wants out of the WTO, or take steps to shake up or even dismantle the organization, Politico reported.

“The big fear is that instead of just a sort of stalemate, it could be the U.S. taking even more negative steps,” Kim Elliott, a visiting fellow with the Center for Global Development, told Politico. “I think most people are just hoping for it not to be a disaster.”

According to Politico, some participants in the conference are focused on preserving the status quo in the face of U.S. threats to a block the functioning of the WTO’s dispute settlement court.

“It is not clear what the U.S. administration is trying to do. They have clearly voiced their discontent with the [court]. The rest of the membership … are happy with it,” European trade chief Cecilia Malmstr√∂m told Politico in a separate interview.

Miller told Politico “the system needs to be protected.”

“It’s going to take a real commitment by a lot of members to turn around what’s now sort of a period of slow decay of the functioning of the institution,” he told the outlet.

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The World Trade Organization is struggling to figure out how to deal with the United States' newfound protectionism - and disdain of multilateral trade deals, Politico reported.
world trade organization, uncertain, trump, disdain, multilateral deals
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2017-47-10
Sunday, 10 December 2017 10:47 AM
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