On Wednesday, 153 nations met to discuss the Doha Round, but left with little to no progress, states the Wall Street Journal. The Doha Round plan was created with a mission of opening rich-country markets to import food from the developing world. After eight years, little development has been made. Furthermore, issues such as the drop in trade and the hot topic of protectionism has reduced the enthusiasm to create a plan that everyone agrees with.
What is on the table doesn’t deliver “meaningful market access in the part of the world that will be growing and driving GDP growth over the next few years,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said, in a reference to countries like China, India and Brazil.
Not all countries are statisified with what is on the table so far. Some believe that the wealther countries will still profit more than the developing countries.
But, as Mr. Kirk puts it best:
The Doha Round “is like a cricket match. You don’t know the score and it takes a long time, but it does end, and there is a winner.”
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The Economist received published an article with statistics about which country files the most complaints to the World Trade Organization(WTO)…and who receives the most trade complaints. Here’s what they found.
The United States and the European Community(a.k.a. European Union) are number one and number two for both filing the most complaints and receiving the most complaints. Rounding out the top five for the World Trade Organization members, who file the most compliants are:
2. European Community
1. United States
Thoses members, who are subject to the most trade complaints are:
2. European Community
1. United States
Many of these disputes vary such as export curbs to the latest import ban of seal products from Canada. According to the article, more of the wealther nations tend to file complaints to the WTO dispute settlement body compared to other members.
To view the full lists, click here.
President Obama landed in China on Sunday to discuss some much needed topics with President Hu Jintao, according to Time magazine. One topic is trade. In recent months, trade issues has been heated between the two nations as both have thrown around the idea that each nation is participating in protectionism since the recession began.
“They’re working through a lot of scattered issues, but they are working through the WTO,” says James McGregor, the former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “In the old days, every trade issue would become a very public and unstructured argument.”
China and the U.S. trade around $400 billion in goods each year. Many trade experts were concerned tension may get too high, making resolution difficult. But, U.S. officials dismiss that allegation, saying that the affected goods are only a small part of the total trade exchange.
Wanna read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1939536,00.html?xid=rss-topstories
The head of the World Trade Organization has spoken out against trade barriers as a negative influence on global economic recovery.
While at a meeting of the VDMA engineering industry association in Berlin, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy warned that, although protectionism is not as high as it was in the past, it does hamper recovery in our fragile global economy.
“For the moment, we have not seen the kind of high intensity protectionism as in the past, even if an accumulation of lower intensity measures could stand in the way of a more rapid recovery,” Lemy said.
“There are some green shoots but my sense is that we must consider them with caution … On the trade side, the contraction appears to have begun to be bottoming out,” he added.
The WTO expects world trade to contract 10 percent this year, hit by the economic crisis and tight credit conditions which have been particularly tough for importers and exporters.
The organization has pushed countries to sign up to a sweeping global trade agreement which has been under negotiation since 2001.
Lemy also discussed the upcoming Doha trade negotiations, mentioning that “Concluding and implementing the results of this negotiation can play the role of a global stimulus package.”
Read more at Reuters, “Trade Barriers could Hamper Recovery – WTO Chief“
Canada asks the World Trade Organization (WTO) to rule against an American food-labeling law that seems to have destroyed much of its hog-farming industry, states the New York Times. The dispute derives from an American rule requiring that food products be labeled by country of origin. The U.S. government denies that labeling its food products is an act of protectionism, although Americans have decreased purchases of pork produced in Canada, traditionally about 7 percent of Canadian pork is consumed in the United States.
The Canadian international trade minister, Stockwell Day, publicly criticized the rules “as so onerous that they affect the ability of our cattle and hog exporters to compete fairly in the United States.” He said Canada “has no choice” but to request that the World Trade Organization scrutinize the labeling rules.
The U.S. trade representative defended the allegations and its claim that the Obama administration is practicing protectionism by stating that the information on the labels given to consumers complies with the WTO.
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Joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of Russia’s top priority reports The Telegraph in the U.K.
There are two important reasons that Russia and the WTO members has it’s eye on joining: the global economic crisis, and the creation of a Customs Union involving Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus – who would all like to enter as world trade members simultaneously.
This year all speeches by Russian leaders at several international forums send a clear message to the economic world that Russia is ready to participate in creating a global governance system. This means that Russia has no choice but to join the WTO.
But, Russia needs to modernize its economy, a need that became apparent with the onset of the crisis. As oil and gas prices dropped, the top two exports in Russia, the need to diversify is even more clear.
If Russia stays out of the WTO, Russian producers and exporters will face increasing difficulties in international markets. WTO membership will provide an opportunity to enter new markets, offering the potential for significant increases in export revenues.
Time will tell if and when Russia will decide to finally enter the WTO as a member or if it will continue to live outside the trading box, so to say.
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The European Union and the United States are in talks on forging a pact with OECD countries and China, if agreed, a global pact will be created to phase out import tariffs on goods such as wind turbines, renewables and green technologies.
“The talks are entering an advanced stage. Brussels and Washington hope this could be one of the incentives needed to get China on board in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate change talks,” one EU diplomat.
Several U.S. companies are urging the Obama adminstration to find alternatives routes to help boost global trade in environmental goods and services.
It’s a chance to jump-start U.S. trade policy and aid global climate negotiations at the same time,” said Jake Colvin, vice president for global trade policy at the National Foreign Trade Council, a U.S. business group.
Not only to boost global trade, but helping the environment is one of the major factors intented for this tax pact. The United States and the European Union has put a lot of pressure on China to lower it’s emissions, but in return China wants money to help harness new greener technologies for its economy.
Further discussions will take place at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
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*all information sourced from a recent Reuter article.
The Wall Street Journal reports that China has appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over its August ruling on entertainment imports, such as Hollywood dvd releases and downloadable music from Apple, Inc. Reports claim that their attempt reflects the recent trade tensions between the U.S. and China because of the increased tire tariffs and chicken import investigation.
China appeals to WTO on grounds of ‘public moral’ stating that it must protect its citizens from Westerized media.
“…China must now prove its trade restrictions are necessary to protect public morals,” says Brendan McGivern, a Geneva-based trade lawyer for White & Case LLP. “It will be a difficult argument to make.”
The WTO’s August ruling required Beijing must stop forcing U.S. artists and production companies to go through state-controlled distributors.
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The World Trade Organization acknowledged that some limits on trade may be needed to ensure it protects the environment, reports The Los Angeles Times.
”WTO case law has confirmed that WTO rules do not trump environmental requirements,” the global commerce body said. “Trade is a friend and not a foe of the environment,” said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy
Border tax agreements are proposed as a way to ensure countries don’t move high energy production to countries that refuse to sign into the carbon trading programs. WTO will also examine the governments,who fund domestic green industries,if they should be allowed under these global trade rules. The organization wants to make sure these governments are funding its industry for the right reason, and not trying to protect domestic companies from international competition.
Recently, the U.S. and the European Union filed a complaint with WTO because China claims it shouldn’t export its domestic steel, chemicals and other raw materials for the sake of the environment.
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On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the World Trade Organization’s head, Pascal Lamy said he saw no improvement in global trade in 2009 compared to 2008, and confirmed his forcasted drop of 9 percent in international trade by volume.
With governements pouring money into failing industries, such as the automotive, he hasn’t seen a disruption global trade as of yet.
“Everyone has subsidized their auto sector. From our point of view, which is to make sure that global trade isn’t hampered, no state has acquired for itself an unfair advantage because of these subsidies,” Lamy said.
What Lamy is most concerned about with the drop in global trade is for the developing countries that have been most affected by this decrease. He stressed this point at the last G20 summit in London. WTO needs more initiatives aimed at supporting trade finance, so that global trade remains open to developing countries, who rely on it for economic support.
There is no forecast for global trade in 2010.
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