Trump Trade Wars

Updates on US trade initiatives under President Donald Trump

Corporations prepare to sue governments over actions to save lives as pandemic reveals other trade policy flaws and need for alternatives

April 23.2020 Dr Patricia Ranald’s article in The Conversation shows how legal firm are already advising global companies on how to use clauses in trade agreements which allow them to claim millions in compensation for government regulation during the pandemic which may harm their profits.

More generally, she argues that the realities of the pandemic have forced governments to act in ways which show the flaws in the current trade deals that are negotiated in secret. 

US economists criticise cosy consensus for free trade agreements but agree that Trump’s tariff wars not the solution

January 13, 2020: Noah Smith recently reported on a debate about US trade policy at an American Economic Association meeting that showed more economists are criticising the “cosy consensus” on corporate-dominated free trade agreements.

US has withdrawn threatened Chinese tariff increases, but details of full deal not published

December 19, 2019: In a reported ‘Phase One’ agreement with China, the US has agreed to ditch its threatened new tariffs of $156 billion on Chinese goods, and has reduced but not removed existing tariffs. In return, China has agreed to buy more US agricultural exports and change its trade practices in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services and currency.

WTO not dead yet: alternative appeals body set up, but fundamental change needed

December 18, 2019: For the past two years the US Trump administration has imposed unilateral tariffs outside of the rules of the 164-member World Trade Organisation. The WTO, although it has many flaws, is the only multilaterally-agreed rules-based trading system. WTO rules are enforceable through government-to-government disputes, heard by disputes panels whose initial decisions can be appealed to ensure they conform with WTO rules.

Developing countries defend WTO rules and dispute settlement system in the face of US actions and call for more priority for development

May 16, 2019: Ministers from 17 key developing WTO countries met in Delhi on May 14. In a statement on WTO reform, issued after the meeting, they defended the WTO multilateral trading system based on consensus of 164 WTO members, while identifying multiple challenges facing it.

US-China tariff wars not the answer to an unjust global trading system

May 15, 2019: Grace Blakeley argues in the New Statesman that the latest Trump policy of 25% tariffs on more Chinese imports and China’s retaliation could result in global recession, and will not fix the unjust neo-liberal model of trade agreements that has not delivered promised benefits. She argues in recent longer report for more equitable national economic policies and a fairer global trading system.

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