The CSS Blog Network

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

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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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Top 10 Countries Affected by Chinese Non-tariff Trade Measures


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This week’s featured graphic charts the ten countries most affected by Chinese non-tariff trade measures as of 2018, with the US topping the list. For an analysis of how this has influenced the trade policy of the Trump administration, read Jack Thompson’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2019 here.

Tariff Levels: US and Key Trading Partners

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This graphic outlines the average tariff levels applied on all imports by the US and a selection of its key trading partners. For an analysis of the Trump administration’s trade policies and the weaponization of international trade, see Jack Thompson’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2019 here. For more CSS charts and graphics, click here.

Most Important US Trading Partners by Rank

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This graphic maps and ranks the US’ most important trading partners by trade volume. For an analysis of how this ranking is reflected in the Trump administration’s approach to trade policy, read Jack Thompson’s new Strategic Trends 2019 chapter here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on economics, click here.

China and the Last of the Multilateralists

Image courtesy of Lekies/pixabay

This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) on 3 October 2018. 

As the trade war between China and the United States heats up, Europeans should think hard about who they turn to for assistance 

In the early years of Xi Jinping’s presidency, China became increasingly assertive. It challenged neighbours and irksome international rules, while painting its behaviour as a measured response to other states’ mischief. Beijing lashed out at what it called Japan’s “militarism”; the “wrongful” deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea; “unfair” international arbitration on territorial claims in the South China Sea; the European Union’s “protectionist” view of China’s market economy status; Indian “provocations” on the Chinese border; and, of course, the United States’ “threatening” presence in East Asia. In reality, China insisted that status quo powers accept policies on its terms, while it became ever more unpredictable in its dealings with them. Europe learned this the hard way – through botched summits, interrupted or delayed dialogues, constant Chinese attempts to divide the EU, and Beijing’s sweeping disregard for implementing joint agendas and addressing European complaints.

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