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Trump cripples World Trade Organization as trade war rages
By Ana Swanson
The New York Times
Monday, December 9, 2019
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has spent two years chipping away at the World Trade Organization, criticizing it as unfair, starving it of personnel, and disregarding its authority, as President Donald Trump seeks to upend the global trade system.
This week the Trump administration is expected to go one step further and effectively cripple the organization's system for enforcing its rules -- even as Trump’s widening trade war has thrown global commerce into disarray and another tariff increase on Chinese goods set for next weekend could send markets reeling.
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Over the past two years Washington has blocked the WTO from appointing new members to a crucial panel that hears appeals in trade disputes. Only three members are left on the seven-member body, the minimum needed to hear a case, and two members’ terms expire Tuesday. With the administration blocking any replacements, there will be no official resolution for many international trade disputes.
The loss of the world's primary trade referee could turn the typically deliberate process of resolving international disputes into a free-for-all, paving the way for an outbreak of tit-for-tat tariff wars. ...
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