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The Current State of the World Trading System and Its Likely Future

Image courtesy of chuttersnap/Unsplash.com

This speech was originally published by the Lowy Institute on 18 September 2019.

On 17 September 2019, the Lowy Institute hosted Ambassador Alan Wm Wolff, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization, for a discussion of the risks and opportunities facing world trade at this decisive moment.

Mr Wolff became WTO Deputy Director-General in October 2017, after a long career in international trade, including as chief trade lawyer of the US executive branch, Chairman of the National Foreign Trade Council, as a senior US trade negotiator, and private law practitioner. He has served and advised both Republican and Democratic administrations.


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Economic Ties between Russia, China, the US and the EU in 2016

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This graphic plots the volume of trade between Russia, China, the US and the EU in 2016. For more on the China-Russia relationship, see Brian Carlson’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2018 here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on economics, click here.

From Policy to Populism: Donald Trump’s Trade Policy in Global Context

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr.

This article was originally published by the Elcano Royal Institute on 10 April 2018.

Theme

An open multilateral trade system is under direct challenge from the policies of President Donald Trump. The year 2018 will be crucial.

Summary

This paper reviews US trade policy one year on after the election of Donald Trump. It demonstrates that after a year of exacerbating transactionalist and protectionist rhetoric we are now in a position to observe the direction policy is taking in practice. Sadly, it is becoming clear that practice is indeed matching rhetoric. The evidence is gathering. Commencing with withdrawal from the TPP, policy has hardened towards an open multilateral system. The year 2018 has seen attacks on the WTO (stopping appointments to the Appellate Board), followed by moves to introduce tariffs on white goods, aluminium and steel and a strategy for direct activity towards China. The year will also see a hard line towards NAFTA re-negotiations. The prospects of enhanced trade tension –trade war, even– is the obvious next stage flowing from Trump’s policy. Major players are likely to retaliate.

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