After 12 years of arduous negotiations, it appears that the ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali will accept a compromise package that will lead to a long-sought agreement on trade facilitation. Led by India, a handful of naysayers out of 160 WTO members had earlier blocked trade facilitation—an agreement that benefits every country—until they extracted […]
What happens when policy goals in one area collide with goals in another? This occurred when US and European manufacturers of solar panels squared off with environmental and geopolitical interests over cheap Chinese products. In the United States, domestic producers of solar panels succeeded in raising tariffs on Chinese imports, even though their victory made […]
As a result of revolutionary gas extraction techniques (hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling), the United States suddenly enjoys a dramatic reversal of fortune in energy production and trade. The Department of Energy (DOE) is now processing several applications for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, as producers are eager to take advantage of large price […]
In the Financial Times today (January 14), I argue that multilateral trade as we know it could soon become history. In the past, we have seen regional trade agreements between large and small countries. Now for the first time, we are seeing the prospects of regional trade agreements between the major trading nations: the United […]
On September 17, 2012, the United States notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat of its request for consultations with China regarding what Washington said were “China’s measures providing subsidies [...] and other incentives contingent upon export performance to automobile and automobile-parts enterprises in China.”1 The same day China filed its own complaint with the […]
On July 24, 2011, Jagdish Bhagwati wrote an op ed essay in the New York Times (“The Wrong Way to Free Trade“) that urged President Obama to press for the completion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) “on the basis of what has been negotiated” in the […]
The office of the US Trade Representative has taken the little noticed but highly unfortunate step of blocking Jennifer Hillman’s second term on the WTO Appellate Body. This is a bad omen, both for the World Trade Organization and the United States. The Appellate Body (AB) decides appeals from panel decisions in trade disputes. Since […]
The decision by the United States to slap a 35 percent tariff on tire imports from China is, of course, significant. It follows a decision last week by the US Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on imports of steel pipe from Chinese firms. In the world of the 24/7 news cycle, one trade […]
The possible American bailout of its Big Three automakers is already being described outside the United States as “protectionist” and a violation of commitments made to the G-20 not to contribute to a trade war in the midst of a global economic slump. Whether or not the typical Congressperson would see it that way, an overlooked consideration in the American debate is how the contemplated actions might come into conflict with existing US obligations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States could trip over two WTO rules.
The leaders of the world’s major economic powers (the so-called G-20 nations), convening in Washington on November 15, plan to discuss the global financial crisis and the need for reform of the international financial system. That seems like a lot to do on a weekend retreat. But in addition, the notables will also be asked to deal with the collateral damage to world trade caused by the financial and economic turmoil.