死につつある国際貿易体制 原点に立ち帰ろう ニューヨーク・タイムズ論説


The World Trade Organization Is Dying. What Should Replace It?,The New York Times,19.11.29

By Lori Wallach Ms. Wallach is the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.


Since the W.T.O.’s formation in 1995, its proponents have oversold it with grandiose promises of dazzling economic gains. President Bill Clinton said the organization would deliver the average American family $1,700 a year of additional income. It would facilitate open market access that would, in turn, reduce our trade deficit, create new high-paying jobs and bring new riches to farm country.

But the organization’s rules were not designed for those outcomes, which never materialized.

Instead, trade negotiations have been dominated by corporate interests, while labor, consumer, and environmental groups are largely shut out. It’s no shock, then, that the W.T.O. has no labor or environmental requirements to raise wages or limit pollution, or that it sets ceilings but no floors on consumer safety standards. Nor are there rules disciplining monopolistic mega-corporations that now distort global markets or combating currency manipulations that create unfair trade advantages.

No doubt some American workers are bitterly angry and moved by Donald Trump’s trade rhetoric after having repeatedly been promised great gains from “trade” agreements. During the W.T.O. era, developed countries have lost millions of high-paying manufacturing jobs, especially after China joined in 2001. Income inequality between rich and poor countries, and within countries, has increased greatly.

Of course, the W.T.O. isn’t dead yet; the question is, will it see the looming crisis and undertake the reforms necessary to save itself? Unlikely: Its current priority is to set new limits on regulations regarding e-commerce and data privacy at a time when most people are clamoring for some check on the industry.

This is especially perverse, given that the original global trade body, the 1948 International Trade Organization, provides a ready foundation for creating better global trade rules. With a focus on full employment and fair competition coming out of the horrors of World War II, the I.T.O. included labor standards, anti-monopoly provisions and currency-cheating rules to ensure the benefits of trade accrued to more people. But the Senate blocked American participation in the organization, effectively killing it.

That very different vision for a rules-based global trading system remains attainable, once we agree that the system is supposed to work for people around the world, not the world’s largest corporations. Twenty years after Seattle, we still have work to do.









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