The World Trade Organization recently met in Geneva to consider U.S. trade policy. Many WTO members have criticized the U.S. for its insistence on “America First” and its disregard for multilateral trade rules. It shows how U.S. unilateralism and U.S. disruption of the global industrial system are a public menace and unpopular internationally.
In recent years, the U.S. has increasingly showed disrespect for the WTO and international trade rules. The United States has taken its “take it or leave it” approach to a paranoid level, seriously damaging global industrial supply chains and causing a tremendously negative effect on international rules. In December 2018, the WTO conducted a trade policy review of the United States. Many WTO members criticized the unilateral and protectionist trade policies of the U.S. and urged it to fulfill its obligations within the multilateral trading regime. Since then, however, the U.S. has taken an “America First” approach, adopting measures which go against the fundamental principles of a multilateral system. For example, the U.S. has helped its industries gain competitive advantage through widespread discriminatory subsidies and has arbitrarily tightened investment security reviews without justification. In addition, the U.S. has blocked the appointment of WTO appellate body members, refused to implement WTO rulings and misused long-arm jurisdiction to force WTO members to comply with U.S. domestic law. Data shows that the U.S. currently retains more than 90 anti-dumping measures which have been in place for over 20 years.
The bullying mindset of the United States is entrenched. Even its so-called allies are not safe, which emphasizes just how hypocritical the “value-based” and “democratic” alliances of the U.S. government are. They are nothing more than a strategy and a cloak for U.S. self-interest. The European Union, Canada, New Zealand and others have had enough and have criticized U.S. trade policy, in particular the Inflation Reduction Act that was introduced. The act stipulates that the U.S. government will provide high subsidies for electric vehicle-related industries that conduct manufacturing in the U.S., and it has caused widespread discontent in the international community. EU countries generally think that this blatantly protectionist policy discriminates against European car makers and will affect the long-term competitiveness of European manufacturers. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech to the European Parliament recently that the bill will lead to unfair competition and that the EU should introduce its own “Inflation Reduction Act” in response to the United States. South Korean media also recently published an article saying that U.S. “support” for its allies is a friendship in name only and that the U.S. will not hesitate to hollow out the industrial resources of its allies in order to dominate in fields such as semiconductors and electric vehicles.
The United States routinely talks about “rules” but says one thing and does another. It has become a destroyer of the multilateral system, carries out unilateral bullying tactics and disrupts global industrial supply chains. Its successive acts of coercive behavior are an international public menace. I would urge the U.S. get back on track and uphold the multilateral trading system. Otherwise the international community will oppose and reject the United States more widely.