The World Trade Organization meeting in Buenos Aires concluded a ministerial meeting Wednesday with nothing significant to boast -- a meager outcome for its first gathering in the Donald Trump era.
Trump is outspokenly hostile to multilateral trade accords, and his top delegate here launched a broadside at the WTO, accusing it of losing its focus on trade negotiation and becoming a litigation-centered body.
The three day meeting ended with no significant deal on promoting global trade.
We are disappointed. Despite our efforts, members failed to reach any significant agreements, said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo. He took a jab at what he called the US delegation's inflexibility, saying multilateralism does not mean getting what you want, but rather that which is possible.
As has been the case for years, bilateral deals took precedence over multilateral accords, which are hard to achieve because they require consensus within the WTO.
A fisheries agreement had shaped up as a possible major accord at this meeting, but it was blocked by India, according to an NGO called Bloom.
Buenos Aires should serve as a wakeup call. The result is not satisfactory, said France's secretary for foreign trade, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.
Trump has already withdrawn the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and insisted on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. And on Monday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer accused the WTO of losing its focus on trade negotiation.
Too often members seem to believe they can gain concessions through lawsuits that they could never get at the negotiating table, Lighthizer said. He also criticized special treatment given to some countries because they are classified as developing nations.
Trump has long made the WTO a preferred target of its America First policy, threatening to pull Washington out of the trade organization it says is hampering its ability to compete. Lighthizer did not even stay for the end of the WTO conference, leaving a day early.
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Sounds like Trump was a convenient thing to blame for them making no progress. They only thing they mention as being vetoed was by India, not the US.Dec 16th, 2017 - 10:19 pm +1
Other countries need to realise this is an opportunity to take on some of the leadership that the US has given up and try and get things moving.
I am sorry for commenting out of topic, but readers should take a look at what's happening right now near Argentina's Congreso. As the Macri government gets ready to push for approval of sweeping legislation that will reduce retirees' income by 5.7 billion US dollars per year.Dec 14th, 2017 - 04:41 pm 0
An interesting fact is that retirees voted overwhelmingly for Macri.
An even more interesting fact is that the system in place that indexes retirees' income by a slightly wider margin than inflation is now adamantly defended by those on fixed income.
Piece by piece, Macri's Joyful Revolution becomes joy-less.
I'm totally anti-Trump, but I really don't think he was the only loony-right oligarch-President to blame for making this WTO a disaster...Dec 16th, 2017 - 12:36 pm 0