Bad signs for the trade-asymmetric

Photo: Jim Watson, Agence France-Presse
President Donald Trump may play the role of the bad player, threaten to get out of the WTO and to increase the désaveux of the signature of his predecessor, he does not have the monopoly of protectionism.

Canada does not have or no longer has the choice, it is according to. But decrying the work as a whole protectionist of Washington with a world trade Organization already called it “a disaster” by, Donald Trump is not a harbinger of happy days to multilateralism asymmetric.

The complaint of Canada against the United States has been filed with the WTO last month. It has been made public on Wednesday in the aftermath of yet another negative decision issued by the u.s. department of Commerce, affecting this time the paper canadian journal. She was accompanied by information from sources generally well informed referring to a withdrawal of the Member-States of the Agreement on free trade in north america. Retaliatory or not, the evolution of the contentious canada-u.s. unveiling at the great day, while the imbalance of the ratio of the forces in presence, and confirms the limits, or even the impotence of the WTO to provide a counterbalance.


The WTO is in the crosshairs of Donald Trump since the last presidential campaign. But its foundations are weakened for a long time. Since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, some might say. Since the accession of China in 2001, will tell others. With the GATT for a precursor, the body has long played its role in the wake of the Second world War under the thrust of multilateralism sustained by the United States, which proposed the implementation of a dispute settlement mechanism instead of a confrontation of direct sales. The WTO, however, has hit the wall of the “capitalist globalization” strongly denounced since the financial crisis. The “Buy American and Hire American Act”, enacted in April 2017 came to shake an organization already rocked by accusations of Donald Trump, who, they, were fed by the limits of international trade agreements the effects of which unequal have been laid bare by the crisis.


The WTO has since been unable to generate new rounds of negotiations or modernize the agreements that were signed. Even less to resolve disagreements between these 164 members, particularly those between some and China, or to ensure the systematic implementation of its decisions. She is now the attacks of the first world economic power, with a government Trump challenging its relevance.


For the latter, the WTO rules lack transparency and do not prevent important players ignore them, or even multiply sprains to free trade, pointing in the direction of China. “We cannot sustain a situation in which new rules apply only to a few while others get a free pass because they are developing countries “, had stressed in December, the us representative for foreign Trade, which écorchait also India the passage.


Added to this is the choice of the White House to prioritize the bilateral agreements and to block appointments to the agency for the settlement of conflicts. Not to mention the numerous calls to the defense of american sovereignty in matters of commercial policy of a government Trump advocating ” the United States first.” Especially as one does not feel directly subject to the decisions of the WTO. And that the president can impose tariffs without the approval of Congress.


But Donald Trump has a beautiful camp in the role of a bad player, threaten to get out of the WTO and to increase the désaveux of the signature of his predecessor, he does not have the monopoly of protectionism. Its bias protectionist is based on a trend which had become apparent with the Great Recession of 2009. The WTO was the first to measure and recognize the intensity of this revival of protectionism that it has not been able to contain. Not less than 2000 measures restricting trade have been introduced during the period 2009-2016, does it encrypted. Not to mention the proliferation of the monetary policy by manipulating the exchange rate. We think the imposition of tariffs, quotas, import subsidies, provisions on the local content and regulatory barriers. Only within the G20, more than 1440 restrictive measures in trade in goods have been imposed — and only some 350 disposed between 2010 and 2015.

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