One of President Trump's top economic advisers has suggested there could be a case for evicting China from the World Trade Organization (WTO). In a BBC interview, Kevin Hassett chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers said China had misbehaved as a member of the WTO. He also claimed that the US had been failed by the organization.
But Mr Hassett said that what he called the President's hardball strategy on international trade is working. On the WTO, President Trump's administration has taken an approach that many others see as disruptive. It poses a significant challenge to the WTO's ability to settle disputes between member countries about alleged breaches of its rules.
A key element in the WTO disputes system is a body which considers appeals against initial rulings by dispute panels. The US has obstructed new appointments when members' terms expire and that is making it increasingly difficult for the body to function.
Dr Hassett said the WTO played a very important historic role in helping modernize the world. But he also thought that it had failed the US in many ways. He said the US generally wins the cases it brings to the WTO but it takes five or six years and then the damage is done.
He said the WTO needs to be better able to deal with countries that don't obey the rules and are willing to lose at the WTO because the penalties are so low.
One country has featured prominently in President Trump's trade agenda, and Kevin Hassett continued with that theme: We never really envisioned that a country would enter the WTO and then behave the way that China has. It's a new thing for the WTO to have a member that is misbehaving so much.
The question he argued is whether that can fixed through bilateral negotiation, by reform of the WTO or even, by removing China from the WTO.
The last of those is a not official US policy. It was the final, least preferred, of three options that Dr Hassett listed and he expressed it as a question: Should we pursue evicting China from the WTO?
It might not even be possible. But it is a startling suggestion to hear from a senior figure in the US administration. It is certainly in keeping with a general approach to international trade has been much more assertive- many say confrontational - than that of President Trump's predecessors.
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Yet another [trade] war started by the USA - is the USA losing this one too & call it Mission Accomplished [impossible]?Nov 28th, 2018 - 10:42 am 0