Please consider Trump Rejects WTO's 'Straitjacket' of Trade Obligations.

A report drawn up by the U.S. Trade Representative outlining the White House’s trade agenda for 2019 said the United States will continue to use the Switzerland-based WTO to challenge what it sees as unfair practices.

However, “the United States remains an independent nation, and our trade policy will be made here – not in Geneva. We will not allow the WTO Appellate Body and dispute settlement system to force the United States into a straitjacket of obligations to which we never agreed,” the report said.

The United States has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to press its demands for changes to what Washington sees as China’s unfair policies on intellectual property protections, technology transfers, industrial subsidies and domestic market access.

China has challenged the Trump administration’s tariffs in the WTO, arguing that they violate its agreed rules. The case is likely to be ultimately decided by the WTO’s Appellate Body, the world’s top trade court.

Pocket Veto

The Trump administration has blocked the appointment of a number of WTO appellate judges. There are now only three, and terms for two of them end in December.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

WTO rules mandate that at least three appellate judges hear a trade related case. Rules also require consensus on appointments.

Starting December, there may be no way to bring an international trade case to the body specifically created to hear them.

Trump does not want an adverse ruling on his ridiculous "national security" claims. One sure way to guard against such rulings is to prevent cases from being heard.

Effectively, blocking appointments amounts to a Pocket Veto of the entire WTO.

Notes

  1. A reader objected to my use of the term "pocket veto". It was poetic license. A pocket veto is when a president sits on bill until it is too late for it to be dealt with in the current session. In this case, Trump sits on appointees until there aren't enough of them to rule on law, effectively vetoing any actions he doesn't want.
  2. Regarding MOUs: Lightthizer was correct, Trump was wrong. The Financial Times commented today "Trump had confused a real estate MoU with what it means in trade parlance."

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Trump Attempts to Talk Down Trade War as Farm Belt Anger Rises

Trump says US and China will remain friends and China will take down trade barriers because it's the right thing to do.

Trump Threatens to Close Border "Entirely" and Return to "Pre-NAFTA" if No Wall

Trump makes wild threats today about the wall. Apparently, he is even ready to cancel his new trade deal with Mexico.

Exploring Trump's Claim of Using Tariffs to Pay Down $21 Trillion in Debt

Trump claims he will use tariffs to pay down the national debt. Let's explore the idea with pictures.

Trump Threatens to Veto Spending Bill Over DACA, the Wall

Trump claims the Democrats abandoned DACA and funds for his wall are insufficient.

Trump Full of Laughs: "Hillary Clinton was a Great Candidate"

Trump told NBC's Meet the Press that he would rather run against "sleepy" Joe Biden than Hillary or anybody else.

China Attempts to Defuse Trade War

President Xi Jinping pledges reform including greater access to China's manufacturing and financial sectors.

Economic War on Iran: Trump Sets Sanction Policy for Entire World

Trump will grant no waivers on purchases of Iranian oil. Effectively, this is an economic declaration of war on Iran.

Tweets of the Day: Italy Locks Down Entire Nation

Italy Locks Down Entire Nation, WA Discusses Statewide Quarantine, Trump Proposes Energy Bailout, NY Lockdown

Recreational Pot: Is Trump a State Right Advocate or Not?

On February 23, Trump’s press Secretary Sean Spicer raised quite a stir when he stated the federal government could step up enforcement against recreational marijuana use in states.