Trade organisation in crisis – The WTO is looking for a Reformer, the China, The unexpected departure of the Director-General of the world trade organization bears witness to curb their loss of importance. For exporting Nations such as Switzerland, the news is not good. Markus Diem Meier16 Kommentare16Es need now is someone with energy and stamina: Says the surprisingly withdrawing the WTO-chief. Him critics, that it will mangle him exactly that.Photo: Hannibal Hanschke (Reuters)

His last meaningful appearance, the Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the Geneva-based world trade organization (WTO) had, in January at the world economic forum in Davos, of all places, on the side of Donald Trump. The US President has never made a secret of his distaste for the organization; the WTO is the worst trade deal that the United States had ever received, he had declared as early as 2016. Last Thursday, WTO Director-General Azevedo has been prematurely announced his retirement at the end of August. His since 2013 permanent term of office would have lasted a year longer.

“We can now do nothing, no negotiations, everything is stuck.”

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo

The withdrawal is exacerbating the crisis, in the the since 1995 existing Organisation with 164 member countries, including Switzerland, was already. A Central function of the WTO is in compliance with the multilateral to secure free trade agreements. However, the WTO can currently choose not to trade disputes and more, she is paralyzed. The reason: The Americans have prevented last December, the election of a representative to the Supreme appeal body of the organization.

deputies are asking the WTO outlet

Since then, the pressure is increased further. In the US Congress initiatives have recently been filed by both sides of the political spectrum against the WTO: The two Democrats Peter DeFazio and Frank Pallone are asking in the house of representatives the withdrawal of the USA from the organization, while the Republican Senator Josh Hawley calls to the dissolution of the WTO, which could not accomplish the USA alone, though.

the message of Azevedos resignation of Josh Hawley responded in a Tweet with the call to Azevedo: “Delete the lights when you go.”

Roberto Azevedo said in his resignation with the difficult situation of the organization, which has been exacerbated with the spread of the Coronavirus: “We can now do nothing, no negotiation, everything is fixed. There is nothing more in the way of our regular work.” His decision was the Best for him, his family, and the WTO itself.

There is a need for new blood at the top, someone with the energy and the stamina to bring the organization need. The remark testifies to the Azevedos frustration in the face of increasingly more difficult situation of the WTO. On the other hand, critics have accused the Brazilians that lack precisely these qualities.

As a potential successor for the Post, especially representatives from emerging countries are ahead: As a favourite from these countries, the former trade Minister of Kenya, Amina Mohamed is. From Europe, Peter Mandelson, has registered his interest. He was EU trade Commissioner from 2004 to 2008. Since the Brexit him to be acknowledged as British, however, little chance.

Failed in China

According to a report in the Financial Times of Tuesday, the EU and the USA insist, to award the Post to someone from a developed country. The two economic blocks are to assume, according to the EU trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan, “the leadership in the Reform of the WTO framework for international trade and the present-day realities better into account”.

With today’s realities should not only be meant the dominance of rich countries in international trade, but also the frustration about the member of the WTO and the emerging market of China. The economic system of the powerful country it has appeared after his admission into the world trade organization as little compatible with the spirit and principles. The Chinese have succeeded, the System is run systematically and to the detriment of other countries.

The end of the war, acclaimed Phase 1-agreement between China and the United States is already at risk again.

Thus, the WTO System is designed with its rules for market economic systems, China practiced a kind of government involvement in the economy. Against China’s state influence on the economy, the Geneva organization was powerless. Therefore, the WTO is like in the USA but also in Europe in disgrace. To blame for the decline of the bureaucratic inflexibility, the organization itself is increasingly noticed, however, is.

Whether it is possible to save the WTO and reform, is expected to strongly depend on the further economic development. Recent events give little cause for hope. Because the current world economic crisis is exacerbating the confrontation. So as the end of the war, acclaimed Phase 1 is at risk agreement between China and the United States are already high. Because China is the fulfilment of the agreements established in the residue. Therefore Donald Trump has threatened last week to cut off all economic relations with China.

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