Ho Hum, Another Meeting of the WTO
(The Globe and Mail – Kevin Carmichael)
The world economy is in trouble and policy makers are desperate to do something about it.
A boost to global trade from reducing tariffs and scrapping preferential treatment would provide a nice jolt to economic growth. And it just so happens that trade ministers from the 153 members of the World Trade Organization will gather in Geneva this week, something they do only once every two years. On the table is a broad proposal to overhaul trading rules that includes tariff reductions the World Bank estimates would generate at least $160-billion a year.
That would seem enough to generate some buzz. It’s not. In fact, the ministerial scheduled for Dec. 15-17 appears set to become the most forgettable since the WTO was created to oversee global trade rules in 1995. Remember Seattle in 1999? Doha in 2001? These meetings used to have serious impact on global affairs. Not anymore. “I’m not feeling the excitement,” Uri Dadush, the head of the international economics program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said last week. Read more here.
Date: December 15, 2011