ARTICLES


  • New World Order

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    15 June 2018

    There is change afoot – not something you might yet notice but something that has the potential to impact us all and very significantly in the future. I refer to America’s changing attitude to the rules based international order that has pretty much defined the way that we have interacted with the World since the Second World War. This is now being placed under increasing strain by a protectionist President who is instinctively set against multilateral institutions; who is set on using trade tariff increases to try and secure more ‘balanced’ trading arrangements. An approach that threatens a broad trade war in which everyone loses. This shrinking from multilateral engagement stems from President Trump’s view that the US has been short changed by the rest of us. This charge was forcefully pressed home to me when I was recently in Paris for the OECD ‘s annual Ministers’ meeting. Wilbur Ross, the US Commerce Secretary, for example, speaking specifically about securing multilateral trade deals argued that America did not like multilateral negotiations on trade as they tended to get ganged up upon, whittled down through multiple concessions, that these discussions would wear on for far too long (several years) so that at the end there was a tendency for the US to sign up more because so much time had been invested in the whole exercise rather than because the deal was a good one. This pulling back was also on display in Canada recently at the meeting of the G7 (the seven industrial economies including ourselves, the US, Germany, France and Japan) – with Mr Trump leaving early and no communiqué having been agreed. The changed US attitude also manifests itself in certain of President Trump’s international tax changes which go against the rules set by the World Trade Organisation. Those who look most favourably on these recent changes of direction include those in the so –called American rust belt who feel that their jobs have been taken by all this unfavourable engagement and lousy trade deals that spill over into an unequal playing field between the terms for US exports and those who wish to export into the US market. But there is another group who are loving all this discord too – they include Russia that does not wish our country or America well. They can see the consequences of this drawing back by the US – a less cohesive and less effective group of countries less able to stand up to them when the going gets tricky, such as when Russia invaded Crimea and the Ukraine or used chemical weapons on the streets of Britain. Our response to all this must be a single-minded determination to keep encouraging America to hold on to that which has brought so much progress over the last 70 years. Mr Trump is a passionate and determined man – it will not be easy -but we must give this endevour all that we have. More from Mel on Twitter @MelJStride and www.melstridemp.com







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