President Trump and the U.S. economic team have held a policy perspective that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is no longer a useful functioning body to mediate global trade issues. At the center of that view are two issues:
First that WTO rules and regulations do not support American economic interests; and secondly, that WTO processes still provide China with favorable benefits as an “emerging nation” despite their scale. As a result the Trump administration has been positioning for a withdrawal from a dysfuctional WTO.
In an effort to keep the WTO intact, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has nominated a pro-Brexit/pro-America trade minister, Liam Fox, to become the next Director General.
(Via Fox News) – The British government on Wednesday announced that it was nominating former International Trade Secretary Liam Fox to head the World Trade Organization – selecting a strongly pro-Washington candidate at a time when the U.S. is debating quitting the trade body.
“Dr. Fox is a passionate advocate of multilateralism, who brings detailed knowledge of the global trading system from his years as a U.K. cabinet minister and secretary of state for international trade,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a letter to the Geneva-based organization. “He has first-hand experience of the political and technical challenges of negotiating trade agreements and the reforms that are needed to ensure the global trading system truly delivers for all WTO members.”
Britain was one of a number of members of the organization to put forward nominations for a replacement for Director-General Roberto Azevedo, who is stepping down in August after seven years leading the body.
The eventual pick needs to win the consensus from all member states.
Fox was a strong supporter of the ultimately successful campaign for Britain to leave the European Union in 2016. Britain formally left the bloc earlier this year and entered a transition phase due to expire at the end of the year.
He has also been a vocal advocate for close ties between Britain and the U.S., meaning that if picked he could help blunt calls from Washington for the U.S. to leave the bloc. In a statement welcoming his nomination, he indicated that he would push to reform the organization. (more)