Washington International Law Journal


The current United States Administration will face considerable challenges in the key areas of international trade law and policy. To understand the future international trade architecture for the coming decade, including in the World Trade Organization (WTO), it is essential to understand the drivers of key trade strategies in leading economies. This article explains the reasons why and the extent to which the negotiating perspective of a country (multilateral and regional) is determined by its ability to penetrate in global value chains (GVCs), embrace tariff reforms, and face the trade balance consequences. These abilities may in turn influence a country’s willingness to impose Anti-Dumping or Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (AD/SCM). Given the employment generation capability of the manufacturing sector and the consequent domestic economic compulsions, the WTO negotiations on freeing trade in this category have progressed slowly. The Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations to reduce the high bound tariff to address tariff “overhang” reached a stalemate in the last decade due to diverging perspectives of developed and developing countries. In addition, developed countries have ceased using contingency measures as policy instruments, and leading developing countries are taking refuge by doing the same. In this context, this article explores the tariff and contingency policies of two key developed countries (United States and European Union) and developing countries (China and India), to gauge each countries’ willingness for future reforms. The perspective regarding manufacturing competitiveness differs significantly among these countries, which also shapes their manufacturing policy interventions. This article concludes that, given the trade and industrial policy choices made by these countries in recent past, it would be difficult to reach a WTO-induced multilateral trade agreement on NAMA.

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