Are the days of mutual consensus and multilateral international trade agreements over? The United States said yes last week in Buenos Aries.
It wasn’t a coincidence that the U.S., one of the 164 member countries of the World Trade Organization, also refused to sign a letter of understanding that supported WTO-type agreements.
Ironically, it was the U.S. senior trade representative who claimed the event as a victory for global trade.
“(This trade meeting) will be remembered as the moment when the impasse at the WTO was broken,” said Robert Lighthizer.
“Many members recognized that the WTO must pursue a fresh start in key areas so that like-minded WTO members and their constituents are not held back by the few members that are not ready to act.”
Lighthizer was speaking about a developed world, agricultural exporting nation motherhood and apple pie statement that did come out of the Argentina meeting, but not supported by India and China:
“In order to face the challenge of producing more food in a safer and sustainable way, farmers must be able to access the full range of tools and technologies available for agricultural production. Yet, our farmers’ choice of safe tools is increasingly undermined by regulatory barriers that lack a sufficient scientific justification, and this is having substantial negative impact on the production of, and trade in, safe food and agricultural products. We believe in both protecting human health and facilitating access to food, both goals of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures…. (It) is needed to support farmers’ choice in tools that can expand agricultural production and facilitate access to food and agricultural products, and also to safeguard human, animal and plant health.”
So the meeting was valuable, but not in a mutually agreeable way.