United States renews support for World Trade Organization
Jake Colvin, chairman of the National Council for Foreign Trade, which represents large multinational corporations, said it was “fundamentally heartening to hear Ambassador Tai reaffirm the administration’s continued commitment to the WTO.”
“This is important and cannot be taken for granted,” he said. “I would agree with her, and the administration would agree with her, that the organization has to show that it is capable of meeting challenges and that it is not just trade for commerce.”
Richard E. Baldwin, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, questioned Ms. Tai after her speech. He was excited by the departure of harsh critics from the Trump administration. “I haven’t heard optimism and the WTO say the same thing for a long time,” he said.
In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Thursday, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the WTO, said that despite a deadly trade war, discussions on the decoupling of states- United and China and pandemic shortages issues, global trade was in fact reaching historic highs and the multilateral trading system continued to strongly benefit the global economy.
âTo paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of multilateral trade are greatly exaggerated,â she said. âThe warnings of de-globalization don’t match the evidence, not yet, at least. “
As the organization prepares for its meeting next month, WTO members are divided over whether to grant a waiver that allows countries to bypass the intellectual property protections of pharmaceutical companies on their products to produce and distribute coronavirus vaccines to low-income countries more quickly.
Backed by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the Biden administration has declared its support for the waiver. But it continues to be the subject of criticism, both from supporters who say the administration is not doing enough to provide access to vaccines to poorer countries, and from the business community, who is concerned about the long-term effects of the erosion of intellectual property rights.