Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Leave the WTO!

I found this rather amusing online petition demanding that the U.S. withdraw from the WTO. The US Administration has a provision for online petitions to be submitted to the president which will be reviewed by the Administration for appropriate action or response. TradeReform referred to this petition which is found here:

Leave the World Trade Organization.
By signing the agreement with the WTO, the U.S. Congress agreed to conceded to:Conforming U.S. laws, regulations and administrative procedures to the will of the WTO (Article XVI, p. 10)
Subjecting all federal, state and local laws and practices that affect trade to international review by the WTO (Article XVI, p. 10)
Allowing any WTO member country to challenge federal, state and local laws and practices as trade impeding (Section 2 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding)
Taking all trade disputes to the WTO judiciary – giving the WTO final jurisdiction over all trade altercations. No appeal exists outside of the WTO (Section 2 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding)
Empowering the WTO to enforce its rulings by imposing fines on the United States until we comply."
What is the opposition about? - 

1. Local, domestic opposition to the multilateral system is expressed in varied ways.

2. The subjecting of domestic, democratic will to an "international organization" draws serious reactions.

3. The power of the dispute settlement mechanism to  override local, state and federal laws without appeal beyond the dispute settlement process.

4.Serious infringement of domestic policy space.

I found the petition amusing since in certain sections of the developing world the WTO seen as an institution that furthers the interests of the developed world, there are opponents in the US who see it as an assault on their national sovereignty! While quitting the WTO would never be a wise option for any country, the demands do highlight some of the concerns (sometimes unjustified) of a hegemonic institution trampling domestic policy space. Kudos to the dispute settlement process for invoking such reactions!

With a goal of achieving 25000 signatures by December 13, the petition had received 84 when this post was written. The WTO without the US as a member? Is that being as optimistic as seeking the conclusion of the Doha round?

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