The WTO in the hands of Trump

Much of the prosperity of Humanity is at stake in the commercial wars that Donald Trump has initiated. The president of the USA does not lack arguments to proceed like this


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Much of the prosperity of Humanity is at stake in the commercial wars that Donald Trump has initiated. The president of the United States does not lack arguments to proceed like this before China and other of its partners. It would be absurd not to recognize it. But the fact is that no American leader had challenged, with the depth and intensity that Trump has done, multilateralism as a scenario for resolving global controversies.

Trump occupies the same headquarters of State and Government that, in 1945, occupied Harry Truman , who, in June 1945, addressed the 50 delegates from as many other countries gathered in San Francisco in the following terms: "The Charter of the The United Nations that you have just signed is a solid structure on which we can build a better world and History will honor you for it.With victory in Europe and the final victory over Japan, in the most devastating of wars, you have achieved a victory over the same war. "

There is no institution where Trump's challenge is more corrosive and disturbing than in the World Trade Organization (WTO), a body created in 1995 that is not part of the UN institutions (or the vices) or the Bretton Woods agreements (IMF and World Bank). The WTO is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), established in 1947 in the same spirit defined by Truman.

The weakest points of the WTO are, precisely, the commercial conflicts between its partners. To resolve them, the organization has an Appellate Body established in 1995. It is a permanent council composed of seven people, which understands in appeal the reports issued by groups dedicated to resolve disputes between member countries. The Appellate Body may confirm, modify or revoke the legal findings of any panel.

The US, for many years, has questioned the existence of this commercial court, under the same idea that has led it not to sign the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC): that there is no more sovereignty over the public powers of the United States than the of his own people ( We the people ). But, just as in the ICC the discrepancy arises in the face, in the WTO it has been more accommodating and devious. In recent weeks, for example, the Appellate Body has ruled against Boeing and the US, which has displeased Washington, but against Canada and in favor of the US in a matter of woods, which has enchanted him.

Since last May, Trump has in his hands the future of the WTO Appellate Body which is almost as much as saying that he has the WTO itself at his discretion. This body consists of seven members appointed unanimously by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the WTO. Each member is for four years renewable for a period of another four years. In May 2018, the Mexican Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández left the organ. In 2016 two other members had left: the Chinese Yuejiao Zhang and the Korean Seung Wha Chang . And in 2014 another: the South African David Unterhalter . The US has refused to appoint new members with different excuses, according to WTO sources.

There remain only three active members: the Indian Ujal Singh Bhatia , the American Thomas R. Graham and the Chinese Hong Zhao . The mandate of the first two expires on December 10 of this year. From there, the WTO Appellate Body will be inoperative and multilateralism will have lost one of the flags that it nailed in the future.

johnmuller.es@gmail.com

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REF: https://www.elmundo.es/economia/2019/04/15/5cb35a6f21efa052428b4639.html