ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rewriting the Rules of World Trade

Is the Trump administration out to wreck the multilateral framework of the WTO to its advantage?

If the recently concluded 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Buenos Aires during 10–13 December 2017 is anything to go by, then the United States (US) seems bent upon wrecking the multilateral framework of the WTO. The US Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer not only ensured that there would be no agreement on subjects that had been mandated for decisions, but also made certain that the conference would end without any “ministerial declaration.”

Early signs of such a dismal outcome were discernible in November at the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam, where US President Donald Trump pitched for an “America First” trade policy. Expressing strong disapproval of multilateral approaches, Trump made clear that the US would pursue “mutually beneficial commerce” via bilateral trade agreements. Holding a weak US leadership responsible for the huge trade deficits that had “stripped” the US of jobs, factories and entire industries, he went on to accuse the WTO of treating the US unfairly.

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Updated On : 9th Jan, 2018

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