WTO protests to US

Dmitry Kosyrev

One hundred twenty-seven members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protested to the United States, and this is perceived by literally everyone as an action organized by China.
True, the action is far from the first. And exactly the 61st – with a changing composition of the protesters (there were fewer of them before). Perseverance is a national Chinese trait, and in the WTO they show it to the world in all its glory. The story here is this: we reported earlier this month that in early December, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body ruled (after four years of torment) in favor of China in a 2018 case involving U.S. duties on U.S. steel imports. After that, Beijing, inspired by the victory, filed exactly the same lawsuit already about the same American bans on almost any cooperation with China in terms of semiconductors. Although it is known that the United States is not going to implement these WTO recommendations, water wears away the stone.
Today the attack goes in a slightly different direction. The fact is that the Dispute Resolution Body is one thing, but the WTO also has a Supreme Appeal Body, whose members are called judges, and, in fact, they are recruited from professional judges. And here the problem is that this part of the WTO has been in deep paralysis for many years, because the United States has blocked the mechanism for appointing these same judges there. And now, once again, most of the world’s economies have condemned America for this. And she, accordingly, once again ignored it.
Let’s look at one of the episodes of that struggle. Year 2018, India, the European Union, China and others opposed the United States. That, it seems, was protest number two out of 61. The fact is that America then (as it is now) blocked the process of selecting judges, at that time there were three of seven of those left, of which two resigned a month later. The protesters proposed to lengthen the term of service of judges, to make their work permanent, not combined, and, most importantly, to leave them in office until a replacement is found. The United States, we repeat, blocked all this and, it seems, are now doing about the same thing. That is, America does not need the WTO as an organization where there are mechanisms that challenge its decisions.
And here the most interesting thing is that everyone else – and today – needs such a mechanism, including those who are considered an ally of the United States. The current action of China in the British The Guardian is described as follows: there are two signatures side by side – Australia and China. And in 2018, Norway, Canada, Switzerland, the same Australia also protested.
But now, we repeat, 127 states have come out against the United States – and this is the very majority that refuses to join the anti-Russian sanctions. And not necessarily from moral-allied-political, but more often from purely economic considerations.
Here we must take into account that, according to this majority, now is simply not the time to use trade restrictions (that is, sanctions) against anyone. Who is bad from the sanctions against Russia, we already see. And from January, new sanctions against China should come into force – in terms of semiconductors and a variety of other goods. And this at a time when dozens of countries around the world foresee some completely unpredictable economic horrors.
The assessment of the same WTO: if world trade grows at all in 2023, then by a maximum of one percent, although earlier it was expected to grow by 3.4 percent. And this is after the covid reset, which in its consequences turned out to be worse than the world war. Miracles are now simply expected from China (because there is no one else) – a sharp revival of trade after the end of the “zero covid” policy and, accordingly, a frenzied activation of production there and the conclusion of many trade deals. But miracles also depend on how skillfully Beijing will resist. It is clear that he will do this not only in the WTO, which has been turned into a nonentity by America.
Note that the essence of the whole plot is the app-roach of the moment when unilateral (that is, bypassing the UN ) economic sanctions, and in fact trade restrictions will become a thing of the past. Beijing is showing that such a moment is not entirely over the horizon. More precisely, slowly brings him closer with his perseverance.
But US resistance is also not weak. Here is an episode of this struggle: there is such an American author – Victor Cha (an ethnic Chinese with hatred for the homeland of his ancestors). He, in addition to being busy with journalism, is actively working in a uniquely harmful semi-state organization – the “National Endowment for Democr-acy”. And the other day, this Cha appeared simultaneously in several publications with his well-known ideas on how to prevent China from influencing an-ything in the world through compatriots and with the help of its weight in world trade. The most valuable thing in this publication is the thought brought to crystal clearness: China wants to make governments and businesses around the world respect its interests.
What is this, an accusation? Yes, because China, Cha says, is the enemy of democracy. And the countries of the collective West should therefore not engage in nonsense, but unite against the threat, since this giant cannot be stopped one by one. And now the main thing: during the years of the Cold War, Washington more than once abandoned liberal practices in order to protect the liberal world order. And now the West may need “compromises” on free trade principles if it wants to stop Beijing from corrupting globalization.
That is, these principles must be completely discarded, and not only in trade, because there is no other way out.
Actually, this is the exact definition of what is happening. The principles of that same liberal world order do not work, because the West is losing because of them. And he began to ignore them for a long time – after which a deadlock arose for those who started the current world war back in 2018 (although the Crim-ean “warm-up” of 2014 was earlier). At first, the war was going on precisely in world trade (with powerful information support), starting with all sorts of restrictions against China. The question is what will happen now. America has not yet learned to retreat, but it is also unpleasant for it to receive protests and, in addition, slide into an economic dead end and drag allies there.