Friday, October 23, 2020

Restoring US trust in globalisation

Must Read

China’s US dollar debt market showing cracks from US sanction…

As US-China tensions show no sign of abating, the threat of new Washington-imposed tariffs and sanctions on Chinese firms...

WeChat ban a catch-22 for Chinese Australians

Author: Haiqing Yu, RMIT University Chinese social media network WeChat is facing global scrutiny and possible bans due to its...

Latest count of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide at 0500 GMT, Oct. 18

BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The following are the latest updates on the COVID-19 global confirmed cases in...

China Targets Cotton Industry in Latest Economic Strike on Australia

Australian cotton growers are facing uncertainty around this year's crop after reports from Beijing indicate that the Chinese...

Sinology and the rise of China today

Author: Wang Gungwu, NUS and ANU The first Sinologists I met in the 1950s were Europeans working in the Orientalist...

Authors: Joshua P Meltzer, Brookings Institution and Neena Shenai, AEI

COVID-19 is fast-tracking the declining relevance and effectiveness of a rules-based global trading system — one already buckling under the stress of a myriad of factors including the rise of China and the turn inwards by the United States.

For the United States in particular, the pandemic is amplifying the sense that trade — especially with China — creates unacceptable dependencies and risk. Calls for the repatriation of supply chains and restrictions on investment in key industries are on the rise. China concerns also underlie calls by some to disregard global rules and leave or abolish the World Trade Organization (WTO).

For others, the pandemic underscores the need for cooperation to address a host of unprecedented global challenges. It has brought into focus the vacuum left in the absence of US leadership, and the critical need for the United States to play the role of reviving an international order, one that balances opportunities with assurance that gains are distributed fairly.

The COVID-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time for an international trading system already at a crossroads. In fact, what happens next could lead to the renewal of globalisation or its unravelling. While the Trump administration’s all-out antagonism towards the WTO is the latest nail in the coffin, China’s long history of unfair trading practices has put the mere existence of the system at risk.

Globalisation — the interconnectedness of goods, services, people and ideas — is supported by international trade rules that provide consistency and predictability. These rules, embodied by the WTO, are not a system for global governance or hyper-globalisation. They encourage cooperation through non-discriminatory treatment for the cross-border movement of goods and services — $19 trillion of goods trade in 2019 alone — and support economic growth that has generated enormous benefits globally and for the United States. The trade rules do not infringe on US sovereignty in the ways critics decry — the United States remains free to do as it chooses. While there are costs for non-compliance with WTO commitments, such as trade retaliation, these costs figure into compliance with the rules.

WTO principles, including non-discrimination, the application of predictable tariff rates, and reliance on the rule of law to settle trade disputes, have become accepted norms. Despite political pressures, these norms have largely endured the 2008 global financial crisis and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic in that we haven’t yet seen a repeat of the beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the 1930s.

But large cracks in these longstanding norms, including recent export restrictions on healthcare products, are part of a bigger picture of rising trade barriers. The WTO has also been unable to address these challenges or keep pace with new areas of trade, and is hamstrung by its consensus-based decision-making, stalled negotiations and distrusted dispute settlement system.

More fundamentally, however, the failure of WTO rules to effectively constrain China’s trade practices has undermined confidence in the institution. Perceptions of WTO complicity in China’s rise at the expense of the United States are further heightening sentiments questioning it and the global system. Supply chain disruptions and shortages of key products like personal protective equipment during COVID-19 — China controls 50 per cent of the market — have highlighted the consequences of US economic interdependence with China and sown additional doubts over the virtues of the system.

US withdrawal from the WTO, however, will not fix the problem. The United States stepping away from its role as guarantor of the international trading regime is also not productive. Such a strategy only provides fewer mechanisms to address challenges, including those created by China.

A reconstituted system that meets the needs of global cooperation in the pandemic’s aftermath would be better realised under US direction. Rather than destroying what has taken US leadership 75 years to forge, the United States must continue building. Bolstering WTO norms, like non-discrimination, predictable tariffs, and the rule of law, that allow global commerce to flourish is a start. This will take bold ideas and strong US leadership.

First, a US-led ‘big bang’ reform of global trade rules is needed. The WTO needs to be overhauled and not through the limited incremental reform efforts underway. The times call…

Source link

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

China’s US dollar debt market showing cracks from US sanction…

As US-China tensions show no sign of abating, the threat of new Washington-imposed tariffs and sanctions on Chinese firms...

WeChat ban a catch-22 for Chinese Australians

Author: Haiqing Yu, RMIT University Chinese social media network WeChat is facing global scrutiny and possible bans due to its handling of user data privacy,...

Latest count of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide at 0500 GMT, Oct. 18

BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The following are the latest updates on the COVID-19 global confirmed cases in hardest-hit countries by the Center...

China Targets Cotton Industry in Latest Economic Strike on Australia

Australian cotton growers are facing uncertainty around this year's crop after reports from Beijing indicate that the Chinese regime has told its domestic...

Sinology and the rise of China today

Author: Wang Gungwu, NUS and ANU The first Sinologists I met in the 1950s were Europeans working in the Orientalist tradition. They had inherited two...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -
Thailand Business News