BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at the G-20 summit in Argentina about the need to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO). For a number of years, several world leaders have spoken on the same subject, citing similar concerns. Chief among these are the the inability of the by-laws and governing rules of the WTO to keep up with the new global economic reality, a reality which sees the U.S empire in stark decline.
As the head of the Russian Ministry of Economy Maxim Oreshkin told reporters, the Russian leader made this statement at the opening of the second working meeting of the G-20 summit, which was devoted to the subject of risks and the current state of the global economy.
He stressed that at present the work of the WTO does not reflect current realities. In particular, it is not quite effective in regulating such new trade areas as electronic commerce, trade in services or investments.
According to the minister, those present at the meeting supported Putin’s position. “This position was fully supported by the Europeans, as well as other speakers,” RIA Novosti quotes Oreshkin as saying.
There is nothing strange about such support. Earlier, the countries of the “group of seven” called for reform of the WTO — the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, the USA, France and Japan. Following the June summit, the leaders of these countries also opposed protectionism in international trade.
Protectionism in international trade has become an increasing problem in the WTO, even while its framing concept is that each country is a ‘most favored nation’, meaning that such protectionism should be avoided. In practice, member-states of the WTO should be able to freely compete in the production and export of various goods and services. But in practice – chiefly due to the increased use of ‘sanctions’, an embargo system erroneously using the language of international law to justify protectionism on the basis of unproven geopolitical accusations – protectionism is on the rise, even if couched in other terms.
Likewise, the US exerts tremendous pressure over Europe on this subject of protectionism. The US is apparently trying to deal with its own production, quality, and price-point problems by using political and even military pressure on other states in order to maintain a competitive advantage. While perfectly explainable within the context of realism in International Relations, it cuts against the primary principles of the WTO.
When the WTO was established, it served the interests primarily of US imperialism, during its period of ascension and dominance. Within that framework, it ensured to some degree a modicum of fairness in the dealings between the US empire and various other states on subjects of trade, intellectual property, and tariffs.
Now with the US empire in stark decline, there is general consensus among both G7 and G-20 countries that the WTO itself needs some reforms in order to retain its relevancy.