World Trade Organization Is Allowing Trade Cheats to Hide Their Cheating for Many Years
Let’s Play Catch Up
Unlike the United Nations and World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization (WTO) can and should be an actually useful international entity. When it’s doing the things it is supposed to be doing.
As America First as I am, I do want US to engage in trade with other nations. I’d just like US to not get royally rooked when we do.
We want actual free trade. As in free from government impediments, tariffs - and subsidies. The latter being the most damaging to global free - and fair - trade.
A country tariffing and limiting imports - damages trade with that country. A country subsidizing its exports - damages trade with every country. Because they are artificially undercutting the actual market prices of the subsidized items.
Brazil subsidizes its sugar industry between $2.5 and $4 billion per year. Which means they can undercut the global market price of sugar - by between $2.5 and $4 billion per year. Because math. Shocker: Brazil controls nearly half the global sugar market. Because math.
Why are we unsure about just how massive Brazil’s massive sugar subsidies are? Because they are supposed to report them to the WTO - and they are not.
And the WTO isn’t making them - or a whole lot of other nations.
“Missing notifications from WTO members outlining the subsidies they give to their enterprises continues to be an irritant in discussions in the WTO’s Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM).
“In a meeting on 27 April, the chair of the committee, Erik Solberg of Norway, once again highlighted the problem of absent notifications.
“The chair noted that despite reminders to members to submit their notifications in time, 80 members have still not submitted their 2019 notifications. In addition, 67 members still have not submitted their 2017 subsidy notifications, and 57 have still failed to submit their 2015 notifications….
“The committee continued to discuss the revised proposal submitted by the United States for ensuring timely responses to questions posed by members under Article 25.8 of the SCM Agreement.”
Guess who is in arrears in their subsidy reporting? If you guessed massive subsidizer Brazil - congratulations, you win a cookie.
Brazil hasn’t reported its massive subsidy regime since 2018. Which means for all we know, Brazil has increased its already massive subsidy regime.
We do know Brazil has been exceedingly active in filing WTO complaints against other, relatively minuscule subsidizers. Which is a joke. It’s like a Democrat owning nearly the entirety of the US news media - while incessantly whining about Fox News.
The US is right to try to get the WTO caught up on its members’ subsidy reporting. Their WTO colleagues are correct to back the play. We need to mend the WTO - not end it.
There is no other way of which I can think to monitor the global trade cheat landscape. So that we can then address it.
This first appeared in Red State.