What Happened: Trade ministers from 12 nations and the European Union have expressed support for reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) and upholding the multilateral rules-based system, Bloomberg reported Oct. 25. The communique came following a meeting in Canada that also included officials from Australia, Brazil, Chile, the European Union, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland. The United States and China were intentionally excluded from the meeting.
Why It Matters: The White House has vocally criticized the WTO, which it believes has failed to hold China accountable for trade abuses. Because of this, Washington has blocked judges from appointments to the WTO's appellate body, which will no longer have enough members to mediate trade disputes if one of its three remaining judges is not replaced by the end of 2019.
Background: The United States has previously opposed calls to strengthen the appellate body, arguing that such measures would make it less accountable. The next meeting on WTO is expected to take place in January during the organization's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
- Challenging the Inevitability of the Liberal World Order (July 26, 2018)
- The Real Target of Trump's Trade War (July 24, 2018)
- Why the United States Is Wary of the WTO (Dec. 14, 2017)