Heightened U.S. Trade Diplomacy — New Rules for Newer Issues in Global Commerce — Maybe.

          Froman and Obama (FT 2013)    The last few days of 2013 have seen two important trade developments. One, Russia filed its first WTO case (against the EU). Two, there is heightened U.S. trade activity in working with Congress to implement President Obama’s trade agenda. The aim of U.S. trade diplomacy is to promote newer rules dealing with new trade issues so as to set a higher standard in global rules compared to those now existing in the WTO. However, some oppose President Obama seeing him as trying to impose a liberal agenda via trade agreements (which he cannot otherwise do by legislation). Here are some more details:
…. Russia filed its first suit in the WTO and it was against the EU for unfair treatment of its energy exports to the EU. The EU previously filed its first action against Russia.  “Russia Targets EU in WTO Suit Over Energy Policy.” Financial Times (December 24, 2013). 
…. The new USTR Mike Froman wants to promote a new political consensus as he deals with global trade negotiations. His goal is to establish a higher standard of new rules  (compared to existing ones) for treating newer trade issues such as national regulation that often act as NTBs. “Mike Froman Upbeat on US Effectiveness in Global Trade Talks.” Financial Times  (December 24, 2013).
…. The U.S. through its trade agreement negotiations via the TPP and TTIP is trying to shape the rules of global commerce as to newer trade issues concerning regulation, specifically concerning the Internet and E-Commerce, pharmaceuticals and intellectual property rights. Hoping to remove newer more restrictive national laws. “U.S. Seeks to Shape Global Trading Rules.Washington Post (December 25, 2013).
…. Some argue that the Obama administration is trying to do by trade agreement what it cannot do by legislation — impose a liberal agenda by including expansive labor and environmental provisions. “Free Trade and Obama Fiat.Wall Street Journal (December 26, 2013).

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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