U.S. Starts WTO Meeting off with Salvo

Dec 15, 2017  | 2 min  | Ep4317

The U.S. government’s Trade Representative opened this week’s WTO meeting with a salvo – saying the group has lost focus on its mission and is “becoming a litigious-centered organization.”

The ministerial-level meeting ended with no final agreements on issues involving agriculture, e-commerce, development and fisheries subsidies.

Protesters are commonplace at World Trade Organization events and this episode featured small farmers protesting land distribution policies. The topic was being debated at the summit between the 164-member countries of the WTO.

The U.S. leveled criticism in the early moments of the conference arguing many countries receive different treatment.

Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative: “We cannot sustain a situation in which new rules can only apply to a few and that others will be given a pass in the name of self- proclaimed development status.”

Others agreed with U.S. Trade Rep’s assessment that not all is fair in trading.

Cecilia Malmstrom; European Union Commissioner for Trade: "We need to have a clear objective in mind, for the European Union this is clear, to preserve and strengthen the rules based multilateral trading system and for it to thrive it has to develop. It is not perfect but it is the best we have and we have achieved great things together and we can."

Other member countries were urging the U.S. to honor current agreements promoting fair, free access to government contracts. 

Contact: paul.yeager@iptv.org

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