Every policy realm has its jargon. Trade policy is no exception. The difference between a country’s weighted average bound tariff and its weighted average applied tariff is called “water in the tariff schedule”. It’s a topic of discussion in WTO negotiations over what the starting point for tariff cuts should be.
The bountiful show of cherry blossoms in Washington DC is a reliable harbinger of spring renewal. When they bloom in Japan, communities pause to appreciate their beauty and reflect on renewal. As WTO members start to design critical reforms to the global trading system, they should carry a renewed commitment to its future and a renewed vision to match that of its founders.
The art of bracketology is crucial in both March Madness and trade negotiations. Consensus is the goal, as trade negotiation texts move from “plenary” sessions with all 164 players on the court to a single agreed text, often with the help of chairperson who serves at turns as coach, referee, and cheerleader for the negotiations.
After a decade of setting the topic aside in the WTO, concerns appear to be rising to surface again that certain anti-competitive government practices may not be covered sufficiently – or at all – by provisions in global trade agreements.
The outcome of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) single market and customs union has broad implications for the UK economy and its terms of trade with the rest of the world. “Brexit Day” on March 29 next year is drawing near. Here’s a timeline of key events and milestones between 2015 and 2018 and what we should be on the lookout for in the first quarter of 2019.
When the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was first agreed by 23 original contracting parties in 1947, there were no guarantees that the rules would endure. Today, WTO membership stands at 164 countries — representing collectively, more than 98 percent of global trade. But for an institution to endure, it must remain relevant.
What’s important about these summits is not the prepared statements delivered at the main table, but the frank discussions and informal meetings that take place in the corridors and meeting rooms around the main conference.
The truth about trade agreements is that they’re almost never just about trade. The United States’ free trade agreement with South Korea is no exception.
New WTO members Afghanistan and Liberia are cheerleaders for other countries seeking WTO membership, including Iraq, Somalia and Timor-Leste. These countries are resolved to rebuild their post-conflict economies and believe that making commitments in the WTO will undergird necessary, but difficult, economic reforms at home.