Politics To meet the China challenge, the US and Europe must look beyond the WTO
WTO eyes appointing first woman chief next week
After nearly six months without a captain, the World Trade Organization looks set to appoint Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its first female and first African leader next week. The global trade body announced Tuesday that it would hold a special meeting of its General Council on February 15 "to consider the appointment of the next WTO director-general". The announcement comes after US President Joe Biden's administration last week offered its "strong support" to Okonjo-Iweala, marking yet another sharp split from his predecessor Donald Trump, who had blocked her nomination for months.
The European Union's (EU)includes a welcome call for greater transatlantic cooperation in response to the economic challenges posed by Communist-ruled China. The EU specifically proposes to revitalize the , a joint initiative by the United States, the EU and Japan to develop new World Trade Organization rules to check features of China's non-market economy, most notably the inordinate role of industrial subsidies and state enterprises.
Building on the Trilateral work and bringing it to the WTO is certainly worthwhile. But it would be profoundly misguided to make expanding the WTO rulebook the exclusive, or even primary, focus of transatlantic cooperation on China. In fact, putting all our eggs in the WTO rulemaking basket would play directly into China's hands.
She’s dealt with hardship and hostage takers, and now this African woman is taking charge of the WTO
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed the new chief of the World Trade Organization, becoming the first woman and African to ever lead the institution.Born in Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala graduated from Harvard University in 1976 and then earned a PhD from MIT. She then became the first woman to take on the Nigerian finance ministry and the foreign ministry too. She was also the first female to run for the World Bank presidency, where she spent 25 years.
Why the skepticism?
Developing new WTO rules to address the "negative spillover effects" of subsidies, the EU's stated objective, too narrowly defines the problem. The Chinese economic system, with its uniqueto advance industrial policy objectives, is incompatible with the WTO norms of transparency, non-discrimination, reciprocity and market orientation. This hard truth needs to be recognized.
A WTO-centric approach also assumes that the CCP feels compelled to follow international rules. Yet an abundance of evidence says otherwise: The failure of the CCP to abide by theof the WHO's International Health Regulations undoubtedly contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CCP's horrific actions against the Uighurs in Xinjiang are incompatible with the . The CCP's imposition of its national security law in Hong Kong the Sino-British Joint Declaration guaranteeing the city a high degree of autonomy. The expansive territorial claims advanced by China in the South China Sea the Law of the Sea Treaty.
WTO taps first woman, African to lead
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and first person from Africa to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), the organization said in a news release Monday.The 66-year-old Nigerian economist was appointed to serve a four-year term ending in August 2025 and assumes the director-general position after the WTO conducted a nine-month search process for its new head."I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director- General," she said in a statement. "A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We see this pattern repeated in trade. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative hasthat China's record of compliance with its WTO obligations has been poor. A major problem is China's pervasive lack of transparency about its own trade policies and practices. China has also been quite willing to use its trade power as a cudgel: Witness China's retaliation against , presumably in violation of WTO rules, because Australia dared to call for an independent investigation into the origins of the pandemic. , and the have also borne the brunt of similar trade retaliation in response to actions considered unacceptable by Beijing.
Finally, the WTO-centric approach assumes the institution is capable of developing meaningful rules within reasonable timeframes. But therequires unanimous acceptance by all 164 WTO members before adopting a decision. At the WTO, China has vigorously objected to the development of new subsidy rules, viewing them as " ." Even if China engaged in a WTO negotiation, it could still enlist other WTO members to block consensus. Under the most optimistic scenarios, the end result will likely be a set of weak rules that largely accommodates CCP concerns.
Beijing's 2008 Olympics were a soft power victory for China, but 2022 may be another story
As the sound of fireworks rang out over Beijing to mark the close of the 2008 Summer Olympics, China's leaders could have been forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief. © Ezra Shaw/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images A welcome message is displayed during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Remembered today as an event in which record-breaking sporting achievements were matched only by the spectacular pageantry and organization of the Games, the success of the Beijing Olympics was no sure thing.
And don't expect the negotiation to be completed soon. The one multilateralnow underway at the WTO - designed to restrict subsidies for fishing - has been in the works for 19 years. Enforcing existing rules can take equally long: The Boeing-Airbus subsidies dispute lasted before reaching a final WTO resolution.
If we are on the cusp of a new era of transatlantic cooperation on China, it is reasonable to ask: Do the U.S. and the EU share the same interests and objectives? Do we assess the challenges in the same way? Together, are we willing to impose costs on China to discipline bad behavior and encourage change, even if doing so also imposes costs on us? Answering these questions will help determine the ambition of any potential collaboration.
Today, the U.S. and the EU appear to be looking at China through different lenses. Hearing important European leaders invoke the discredited "" mantra is eyebrow-raising. The timing and substance of the recently-concluded also raises questions about whose interests the agreement is actually serving. At the WTO, the EU has so far taken an excessively cautious approach, refusing even to cosponsor a affirming the centrality of market-oriented conditions to the global trading system. The EU's concern: the statement would somehow imply that China cannot be part of the organization.
Biden administration must settle unwinnable WTO cases over steel and aluminum tariffs
Ending the 12 cases triggered by Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs would help signal U.S. resolve to see through WTO reform. Bad cases make bad case law, and worse. COVID delays at the WTO have handed Biden a little more time to resolve 12 bad cases that the U.S. can't win, no matter what the rulings are.Marc L. Busch is the Karl F. Landegger Professor of International Business Diplomacy at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and host of the podcast TradeCraft.
Only time will tell if the desire for collaboration bears any fruit. But an effective transatlantic response to the China challenge would have many facets beyond new WTO rules. These include the joint imposition of sanctions against Chinese companies engaged in predatory or illicit behavior;in the face of retaliatory Chinese trade actions; a collective effort to improve supply chain resiliency for critical goods; the joint development of for the leading industries of the future; and, yes, too.
Dennis Shea served as deputy U.S. trade representative and U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization from 2018-2021.
‘The Last of Us Part II,’ ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ Lead BAFTA Games Nominations .
Winners will be announced at the ceremony on March 25, with 13 nominations marking a record for a single title in the history of the honors.The 13 nominations for The Last of Us Part II marks “the highest number of nominations for a game in the history of the BAFTA Games Awards, beating last year’s record of 11 by Control and Death Stranding,” organizers said. Tsushima got 10, Hades eight, Spider-Man seven and Dreams seven.