-
Advertorial
-
FOCUS
-
Guide
-
Lifestyle
-
Tech and Vogue
-
TechandScience
-
CHTF Special
-
Nanhan
-
Futian Today
-
Hit Bravo
-
Special Report
-
Junior Journalist Program
-
World Economy
-
Opinion
-
Diversions
-
Hotels
-
Movies
-
People
-
Person of the week
-
Weekend
-
Photo Highlights
-
Currency Focus
-
Kaleidoscope
-
Tech and Science
-
News Picks
-
Yes Teens
-
Fun
-
Budding Writers
-
Campus
-
Glamour
-
News
-
Digital Paper
-
Food drink
-
Majors_Forum
-
Speak Shenzhen
-
Business_Markets
-
Shopping
-
Travel
-
Restaurants
-
Hotels
-
Investment
-
Yearend Review
-
In depth
-
Leisure Highlights
-
Sports
-
World
-
QINGDAO TODAY
-
Entertainment
-
Business
-
Markets
-
Culture
-
China
-
Shenzhen
-
Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> World Economy
Trade order in a wobble as US snubs WTO status quo
    2017-December-18  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

THE frustration of Roberto Azevedo was evident when, as director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), he summed up the results of a three-day ministerial conference in Buenos Aires last week. There were simply none.

The delegates of more than 160 countries from around the globe failed to reach any new agreements in the face of stinging U.S. criticism of the WTO and vetoes from other countries. At the end, they were not even able to agree on a joint communique.

And a further blow could strike in the coming week when U.S. Republican lawmakers aim to pass sweeping changes to the tax code, which may introduce protectionist measures that critics say are at odds with WTO rules.

“In retrospect, 2017 could mark the beginning of the end of the rules-based free trade order and the system unraveling,” said Andre Sapir, senior fellow at the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. He called it a “big worry.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, propelled to power by his election promise to put “America First” and protect U.S. workers against what he views as unfair trade practices from China and others, has undermined the WTO as a forum to settle disputes.

Over the past months, Washington has blocked the appointment of several WTO appeals judges, moves which could paralyze the body’s dispute settlement system for years to come.

“The new U.S. administration does not want to work within multilateral frameworks. It wants bilateral deals,” Sapir said.

As a critic, he said, “This would lead to a system in which the stronger ones outplay the smaller ones, it would be the law of the jungle.”

This apparent change of course in Washington is puzzling for free trade advocates who argue that the United States has for decades supported and benefited from multilateral decision-making and rules-based arbitration enshrined in the WTO statutes.

For them, Trump’s protectionist rhetoric is a threat to global growth and prosperity since tariffs and other trade barriers such as import restrictions, registration formalities or state aid for domestic suppliers push up costs for everyone.

The slow dismantling of the international trade order could also hurt mid-term export prospects for European countries and Germany in particular at a time when the eurozone economy is benefiting from a surge in demand for its manufactured goods.

A rebound in exports is one of the key drivers of Germany’s economic upswing as they still account for more than 40 percent of its gross domestic product. The United States is Germany’s most important single export destination after the bloc of European Union countries.

Following the fruitless WTO meeting, the U.S. tax overhaul could now be another nail in the coffin of free trade. The European Union and the finance ministers of Europe’s five biggest economies have sounded an alarm over elements of the plan.

In a letter sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said that the inclusion of “certain less conventional” tax provisions would contravene WTO rules and violate double taxation treaties.

In a separate letter, the European Commission warned Mnuchin the planned overhaul contained elements that risk seriously hampering trade and investment flows between the world’s two biggest economic blocs.

Some of the provisions would discriminate against foreign business in the United States, the commission said.

(SD-Agencies)

深圳报业集团版权所有, 未经授权禁止复制; Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn