Under Trump, the U.S. Has Stopped Leading the WTO. Can China Fill the Gap?

Visitors walk past a chart showing China’s soaring GDP since 2012 and a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping at an exhibition highlighting China’s achievements under Xi’s leadership, Beijing, Oct. 19, 2017 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
Visitors walk past a chart showing China’s soaring GDP since 2012 and a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping at an exhibition highlighting China’s achievements under Xi’s leadership, Beijing, Oct. 19, 2017 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Little is expected from the World Trade Organization’s 11th ministerial conference next week in Argentina. U.S. President Donald Trump’s hostility to multilateral agreements is a serious impediment, and American trade officials engaged in preliminary talks in Geneva have said they do not expect, nor want, any negotiated agreements to come out of the meeting in Buenos Aires. This is despite the fact that several items on the WTO’s agenda, including e-commerce, constraints on trade-distorting agricultural policies and constraints on fishing subsidies, have been U.S. priorities in the past. By contrast, China has signaled throughout this year that it supports open […]

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