Ripe olives are a critical ingredient for olive oil. They’ve also been ripe with trade tension over the past two years. Spanish black olives, green olives and olive oil have all been embroiled in two recent trade disputes between the United States and the European Union (EU), resulting in higher tariffs and increased prices of Spanish olives and olive oils for U.S. consumers.
In 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU). The three years of negotiation that ensued have thus far been about the terms of a “withdrawal agreement” which provides for a transition trade agreement. The longer-term trade arrangements between the EU and the UK are still up for negotiation.
In response to WTO-illegal European subsidies to its aircraft industry, the U.S. administration is reportedly considering what is known as “carousel” retaliation against the EU – a regular rotation of goods targeted for tariffs, designed to impose maximum pain. The United States and Europe have been on this ride before.
Simple in appearance, pleasantly sweet, nutritious, and nearly universal in appeal, that Cavendish bunch of bananas on your counter comes off as pretty unassuming. In reality, it has been through jungle wars and trade wars and now sits on the precipice of extinction. Growing to love more varieties could help save trade in bananas.
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 concept of creating a generalized, non-reciprocal system of preferences for developing countries dates back to 1968. But enabling legitimate forms of discrimination has predictably had positive and negative consequences and there’s little economic data to demonstrate the programs have accrued significant benefits.
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.
The current administration’s use of Section 232 to impose trade-restrictive measures on imports of steel and aluminum has become the source of increasing domestic discontent among steel-using industries, farmers who are the target of retaliatory tariffs, and Members of Congress who are reconsidering having delegated powers over trade to the President. It has also put WTO dispute settlement to an unwelcome test.
Government subsidies to fishing industries may be accelerating the depletion of fish stocks. Nearly 90 percent of the world’s fish stocks are at risk of being overfished. WTO members first started negotiating on fisheries subsidies in 2001 and have vowed to reach an agreement restraining these kinds of subsidies by the end of 2019.