World Trade Organization ends meeting in UAE after failing to reach major agreements

Mar2,2024



Dubai: negotiators attending a world trade organization Their summit ended early Saturday after the meeting in the United Arab Emirates failed agreement The latest sign of turmoil within the global body, over several key initiatives.
The WTO delayed its closing ceremony in Abu Dhabi by more than a day as the 166-nation grouping struggled to reach consensus on fishing, agriculture and other issues.
The only agreement of note was on increasing taxes on digital media such as movies and video games. On that issue, the WTO decided to extend the moratorium until its next biennial meeting.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the summit took place “against an international backdrop that is more uncertain than any time I can remember.”
Like the summit opening on Monday, he made no direct mention of Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, it had already noted the shipping disruptions caused by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Red Sea due to the conflict.
“The beauty of the WTO is that every member has an equal voice, but that comes at a cost,” Okonjo-Iweala said. “Still, we are a unique organization, and I think the cost is worth it. Let's keep going so we can make our voices heard.”
Elections for nearly half the world's population could bring new challenges for the WTO. Perhaps none is more important for the WTO than the United States presidential election on November 5.
Former President Donald Trump is running again, having threatened to pull the US out of the WTO and repeatedly imposed tariffs – taxes on imported goods – on perceived friends and foes. Trump's victory could again impact global trade.
But even if President Joe Biden is re-elected, the United States has deep reservations about the WTO. The US has frozen appointments to its appeals court under the last three administrations, and it is no longer working. Washington says WTO judges have often exceeded their authority in ruling on cases.
The US has criticized China for still describing itself as a developing country, as it did when it joined the WTO in 2001. Washington, Europe and others say Beijing unfairly hinders access to emerging industries and steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. , The US also says China is flooding world markets with cheap steel, aluminum and other products.



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