February 5, 2019: Chinese and US trade negotiators meet in Washington again next week to try to reach an agreement to avoid a massively escalated tariff war from March 1. Without a deal, US punitive tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports will go up from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, and China is likely to respond in kind. The US is blocking appointments to the World Trade Organisation appeals body, and threatening to leave the 164-member WTO.
World Trade Organisation
January 29, 2019: The elite business and government World Economic Forum meeting last week was a perfect setting for Australia and 70 other mostly industrialised country governments to announce exclusive plans for an e-commerce trade deal that was rejected after fierce debate by the majority of the 164 WTO members who met in Argentina in December.
January 22, 2019: The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union President Andrew Dettmer yesterday welcomed the announcement of an ALP national procurement policy that will apply to Commonwealth government purchasing of $50 billion per year. He said it would create more local manufacturing jobs and training in regional Australia, and congratulated union members who campaigned for the policy.
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.
June 1, 2018: President Trump last month imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from China and Japan, and has now extended these to Canada, Mexico and the EU. The pretext for these actions is that the aluminium and steel industries are essential to US national security. The US now faces tariff retaliation from all of these countries, as well as legal action through the World Trade Organisation, which is not likely to accept the national security argument.
December 14, 2017: The 11th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (MC11) finished in Buenos Aires this week without a formal agreed Ministerial statement. Here is a link to the remarks by the Director-General. This means there are no formal mandates for new WTO negotiations.
13 December 2017: Over 160 women’s rights groups and allied organisations have urged WTO member governments not to agree to the proposed “Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment”, which they describe as a ‘pink herring’ intended to ‘mask the failures of the WTO and its role in deepening inequality and exploitation’.
11 December, 2017: As the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting begins in Buenos Aires, the Our World is Not for Sale network of over 250 civil society organisations has condemned the banning of selected activists and called for fairer trade rules for developing countries.