What if you had an international trade meeting and didn’t invite the third most populated country in the world?
Well, that’s exactly what Canada has done.
“Canada will host senior ministers from 13 “like-minded” countries for a two-day discussion in Ottawa later this month to brainstorm ways to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO),” said Jim Carr, Canada’s newly appointed international trade diversification minister.
Ultimately the United States will be approached, but for the time-being, they are being left out of the discussion.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global organization, that was established on January 1, 1995 in Geneva, Switzerland and deals with the rules of trade between nations. It’s a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements and settle disputes and follows a system of trade rules. Its primary purpose is to open trade for the benefit of all. Its membership includes 164 nations, representing 98% of world trade.
The U.S. has blocked appointments of new judges to the WTO dispute settlement body, which is threatening to paralyse the organisation. Trump claims the WTO has not treated the U.S. fairly due to members abusing the trade rules. According to Trump: “In the end unfair trade undermines us all.”
Canada is inviting Australia, Brazil, Chile, the European Union, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland to two days of talks on the WTO beginning October 24 in Ottawa.
The hope is to re-establish the rule-based system by preserving the WTO.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke on an Edmonton radio station recently and stated that independent dispute resolution mechanisms, which the U.S. wanted to scrap, need to be preserved because Trump “doesn’t always follow the rules as they’re laid out.”
In July, the United States launched five separate complaints at the World Trade Organization against Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey in response to retaliatory tariffs those countries and groups have launched against the United States.
“Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs designed to punish American workers, farmers and companies,” U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said.