Daily Memo: The WTO Sides With Beijing

Despite the ruling against Washington, the Trump administration isn’t about to abandon its tariffs.

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The WTO rules against U.S. tariffs. China won a big case against U.S. tariffs at the World Trade Organization, giving Beijing some moral high ground with which to reinforce its narrative to the Chinese public that any pain they’re feeling from the trade war is the result of U.S. efforts to thwart China’s rightful rise. But since the Trump administration isn’t about to abandon its tariffs simply because the WTO ruled against it, China will see little substantive relief from the ruling. In fact, there’s a real risk that it will ultimately lead to further disruption in global trade, as being ignored by the world’s largest economy will weaken the authority of the WTO, whose rules effectively function as the plumbing of the global trading system – but which are binding only to the extent that countries agree to abide by them. Nor will the ruling, which did not absolve China of its own violations of global trade rules, do anything to diminish legitimate frustrations with Chinese mercantilist policies shared widely across the West. There was, for example, little meaningful progress in top-level talks this week on a China-EU investment treaty, which Brussels hopes will address many of the same […]

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