RIP AB

As of today, the WTO Appellate Body will be, at least temporarily, no more. The Trump Administration has strangled it by refusing to agree to appoint new members. This can be seen as an extension, albeit an extreme one, of positions taken in prior Administrations, including the Obama Administration.  This blog explains various ways the…

The WTO faces gridlock. What’s at stake?

The World Trade Organization’s dispute system was once lauded as an important advancement in trade law enforcement. Now it appears that the system’s legal backbone has been broken. If the dispute system cannot be salvaged from the current crisis, it’s worth asking: what do we lose? Answering that question means putting politics aside an taking…

Restoring FDR’s Vision for Global Trade

The following is an executive summary of a paper submitted to the Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance Conference A New Deal for a New Century: Making Our Economy Work for All.  Papers for the conference, including the full version of the summary below, can be found here.   Too often, the debate over trade devolves into tribalist…

The Myth of the Global “Free” Market

According to Politico, a “coalition of free-market advocacy, business and nonprofit groups is urging the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee to press forward on new legislation curbing the president’s tariff authority.” Ah, the siren song of the free market.  But does anyone really think the global trading system is characterized by “free” markets?  A…

The Pain-Free Solution to the Trade Crisis

There isn’t one. Contrary to the prevailing narrative, the pain didn’t start when the United States imposed tariffs on our trading partners.  The pain started much earlier.  When, exactly, doesn’t necessarily matter, though we can focus on China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), its subsequent skirting of the rules, the WTO’s insistence on…