Potential Trump Reelection Casts Shadow Over Key World Trade Body Meet

In President Donald Trump’s first term, he blocked the WTO’s ability to resolve trade disputes.

Abu Dhabi:

Donald Trump’s chances of being re-elected as US president are overshadowed by this week’s key meeting of the World Trade Organization, which Trump has attacked in the past.

The conference, to be held in Abu Dhabi, is an opportunity to reform the 30-year-old institution’s strained process for resolving international trade disputes.

But despite the presence of ministers from around the world, few are hopeful of success amid volatile geopolitics and high tensions between China and the United States.

“People are understandably very worried that Trump will win. What will he do then? Will he take the US out of the WTO?” One diplomat said the issue is sensitive. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s hard to be too optimistic these days, but we’re trying.”

President Trump’s first term saw him block the WTO’s ability to resolve trade disputes, use his veto to block leadership changes, and wage a trade war with China while threatening to pull the U.S. out of the WTO. started.

The stalemate is resolved until his successor Joe Biden arrives in the White House in 2021, allowing Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to take command of the 164-member body. Ta.

Although he lowered his hopes that the conference would bring about any major institutional reforms, he at least wants to emphasize its importance as a framework based on international rules.

“If Trump wins, we will have to live through the storm for four years,” said one trade representative, who declined to be named for the same reason. He spoke at

-“Everyone will suffer”-

Analysts say there is little authorities could do to protect themselves in such a scenario and that the United States is likely to act more unilaterally if President Trump is re-elected in November.

“Americans are so obsessed with competing with China that it’s so unfair, and WTO rules don’t change anything, that they decided to act against those rules,” said Cedric Dupont of the Graduate School of International Development. ” he said. In Geneva.

He added: “The WTO will be caught between the anvil and the hammer, and of course everyone will suffer, including Americans.”

Sébastien Jean, deputy director of the French Institute of International Relations, said the US election cycle was already hampering the country’s participation in the WTO.

“This is a politically sensitive topic and involvement poses risks to everyone,” he added.

No one expects the U.S. delegation, led by Trade Representative Katherine Tai, to make any major concessions, as the Biden administration is unlikely to invest political capital on the issue.

Progress on smaller common goals, such as eliminating subsidies that contribute to overfishing and balancing demands for food security, could avoid the conference’s failure.

But the US election and Washington’s position are not the only obstacles to a deal.

South Asian powers India (which also holds general elections this spring), South Africa and China also maintain strong positions in the body.

Many voices, including the WTO chief, have emphasized that the United States will continue to contribute to the organization, no matter what the future holds.

“On a technical level, the United States is very busy at the WTO,” said Peter Umpakorn, a former senior intelligence officer at the WTO Secretariat.

“The United States is also constructively engaged in a wide range of WTO activities, including fisheries subsidy negotiations, and has made a number of proposals to strengthen the WTO’s efforts, for example on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to fishing. There is. Trade,” he added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Sign up to stay informed to breaking news