By Mia Shaw
Government entities, banks and even everyday people often do not understand the inner-workings of cryptocurrencies. Here I’ll discuss the benefits cryptocurrencies and how their use can help businesses grow globally.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only truly global international organization that addresses the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by all WTO members, which constitute the vast bulk of the world’s trading nations. The overriding goal of the WTO is to increase trade by ensuring that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible. However, over the last several years the organization’s value has been diminished due to growing nationalism and an increasing tendency for countries to bend the rules. As a result, there is a high degree of mistrust and contention surrounding the WTO.
Donald Trump has made no secret of his dislike of multilateral international trade deals. He pulled the U.S. out of the TPP agreement on his first day in office and threatened to end the NAFTA agreement, which was only recently renegotiated and rebranded as USMCA. Trump has repeatedly threatened to leave the WTO entirely. He believes the WTO too often rules against the US in disputes. Trump’s frequent opposition to international trade agreements has emboldened other countries to sidestep the system as well. China, in particular, has been accused of not opening its economy to trade as it had committed to do in 2001 when it joined the WTO. Many other countries have been criticized as well, for various efforts to gain a trade advantage. As a result, the WTO is struggling to keep up with changing policies and commitments from its member countries.
In September, the Canadian government released a blueprint to reform the World Trade Organization in an effort to strengthen the WTO. The proposed plan was in advance of Canada hosting a ministerial meeting of “like-minded” WTO member countries in Ottawa. As reported by the BBC, the meeting pointedly did not include the U.S. or China.
Most recently, an agreement was reached at the G20 meetings in Argentina that notes the need for multilateral, cooperative efforts to support the WTO effort, but also bows to the U.S. position that the WTO needs to reform its rules. Just prior to that meeting, Roberto Azevedo, the WTO Director General, warned of the severe economic fallout from continued trade tension. During the G20 meetings, the U.S. and China agreed to a temporary cease fire in their mounting trade war. Perhaps the Canadian effort to find ways to buoy the WTO has paid off.
These recent developments may be a positive signal for those like Canada and the EU who see a need for the WTO and its “rules based” system. At the same time, a failure to move forward in good faith on WTO reform could solidify the beliefs of those who think the WTO is obsolete. While the G20 agreement will keep WTO reform discussions alive, there is no certainty that the institution will be revitalized. The next steps will be telling for the future of the global trading system.
Read more posts by Calvin Miao