December 4, 2018, The US continued its opposition to the Paris climate agreement endorsed by other governments in the declaration issued by the G20 governments meeting in Argentina on December 2. The declaration also omitted the usual pledge to resist new trade restrictions, presumably to enable the US to endorse it. The G20 annual forum brings together leaders of the richest economies with some representation from developing countries.
Trump Trade Wars
Updates on US trade initiatives under President Donald Trump
November 20, 2018: At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) in Port Moresby last weekend US Vice President Mike Pence justified the US tariff war on China by criticising Chinese policies on technology transfer, intellectual property and industrial subsidies, and accused China of drowning its Pacific Island aid partners in a sea of debt.
Chinese President Xi Jinping in turn urged a rules-based approach through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), said that intellectual property rules should not be as profit-making tools for a few, accused the US of protectionism and unilateralism and urged cooperation rather than confrontation.
11 October 2018: There was a reported meeting this week in Beijing between Chinese and European Union trade officials about changes to the World Trade Organisation (“WTO”). We’re still waiting to hear outcomes of the meeting, which follows change proposals and continued negotiations between WTO members.
8 October 2018: The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”), a remodelling of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), has serious implications for data privacy and usage for consumers in those countries and around the world according to Michael Geist in a Washington Post article.
4 October 2018: Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in trade deals enable foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments in international tribunals if they can argue that a change in law or policy has harmed their investment.
The revamped NAFTA agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, will phase out ISDS between the US and Canada altogether after three years. The deal also limits the scope for ISDS cases between the US and Mexico to cases of direct government takeover of assets.
24 September 2018: Trade wars are intensifying today between the US and China in the lead up to early November mid-term Congressional elections. As the US tries to gain domestic political advantage, the latest round of retaliatory measures between the world’s largest economies will mean repercussions for workers around the world, who are already most disadvantaged by unfair trading systems.
July 25, 2018: The US Trump administration is escalating its America First strategy of using its power as the world’s strongest economy to get more benefits for US corporations from individual trading partners, in the hope of domestic political advantage in the mid-term Congressional elections due in November 2018. But there are long-term consequences for the global economy and the global trading system.
March 26, 2018: US trade policy has become more dangerously unilateral and contradictory.
US President Trump threatened on March 23 to impose tariffs on US$60 billion of Chinese exports to the US after a “consultation” period. This is also linked to US strategic and military competition with China. China has threatened to retaliate with its own tariffs on US goods, resulting in a trade war and economic instability. Global stock markets plunged in response to the news.
March 19, 2018: Jim Stanford from the Australia Institute writes in The Guardian that Trump’s unilateral and xenophobic approach to trade policy is dangerous and could lead to trade conflict. He argues we need an alternative to both Trump’s unilateralism and to corporate-dominated trade deals like the TPP.