Tuesday, January 26, 2010
By Cyndee Todgham Cherniak
Reuters is reporting that at the January 22, 2010 Meeting of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body, the United States and Japan blocked requests by Argentina, Ecuador, Cuba, Brazil, India and China for a future review of trade measures, such as stimulus bailouts in the financial sector. An official at the meeting spoke about what had occurred behind closed doors.
This blocking is to be expected for a number of reasons:
1) If Cuba is asking for the review, the United States is going to respond negatively;
2) Both Japan and the United States have experienced financial meltdowns (so has Argentina - but they are on the requesting side - possibly they come from a place of understanding);
3) Unwinding the bailout funding is not an option - the possible negative recommendations that may be contained in a WTO Report sends the "What Ifs" into overdrive;
4) The transparent production of information in the course of the analysis is rife with difficulties;
5) Sovereignty - need I say more; and
6) If a WTO Report were to determine that the financial stimulus spending in 2009/2010 was WTO illegal, all hell would break loose and the existence of the WTO as an institution may be threatened.