Buenos Aires ministerial

By Isaac Cohen*

The eleventh ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) started Sunday in Buenos Aires, chaired by the host government representative, Argentina’s Minister Susana Malcorra. This biennial meeting is held under high expectations on how the new introspective US trade policy will be received by the 163 other members of the worldwide organization, dedicated to promote multilateral trade.

In anticipation of such expectations, the four Presidents of MERCOSUR, from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, present at the ministerial inauguration, issued a joint declaration underlining “the importance of preserving and strengthening the multilateral trading system, including its dispute settlement system.”

By contrast, the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer said the WTO was “losing its essential focus” and becoming “a litigation-centered organization” that has “failed to pay sufficient attention to enforcing existing rules.”

Therefore, instead of launching another global round of trade negotiations, the Buenos Aires meeting will deal with specific issues such as fisheries subsidies, domestic regulation of services and electronic commerce.

Nonetheless, some issues submitted to dispute settlement procedures will be discussed outside of the formal venue. Among them is the designation of China as a “market economy,” which is opposed by the European Union with the support of the United States and Japan. For the US Trade Representative this is “the most serious litigation matter” at the WTO right now.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington.

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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