WTO members voluntarily agreed to rules to create a more secure and predictable trading environment for their traders. By and large, members comply with these rules so that others will as well. But when one member believes that another is not complying, the WTO has procedures for settling disputes.
Most good ideas require intellectual property (IP) protection if they are to play a key role in driving customer sales. As consumers, we interact with IP thousands of times every day with little to no conscious thought when we text on our cell phones, slip a sleeve onto our hot coffee cups, notice the style of cars passing on our commute, or walk down the aisle of a grocery store.
China argues it should be granted “market economy status” by all WTO Members. Some of the world’s major economies, including the United States, think it depends on the specific situation. American producers of industrial commodities such as steel say China is not operating on market principles in their sector.
Playing Calvinball in commerce undermines the benefits of the transaction for both parties, which is why trade rules are important when engaging in international commerce.