Tess Torelli April 17, 2018

The International Trade Center has a joint mandate from the WTO and the UN through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and supports its parent organizations’ regulatory, research and policy strategies.

The ITC’s Gonzalez has been vocal in her criticism of Trump’s trade and tariff proposals, saying in March that exemptions for some countries and not others would not effectively deal with market overcapacity. A trade system based on deals and not rules undermined the whole global trading system, she said.

Gonzalez told Giftofaservant that “nobody wins a trade war” but she stressed that the rules of the multi-lateral trading system currently needed to be changed at a systemic level.

“There is one big player called the United States, there is a second big player, that wasn’t that big in the past, called China, and then you’ve got other big players that are somehow involved in these tensions,” she said.

“At the heart of this … There is the need to fix the rules of the game for international trading areas where these rules are weaker and the need is greater — and these are around subsidies, state-owned enterprises and the transfer of technology linked to investment. These are three structural areas and we need a dialogue to fix these issues if we are to avoid what I see as a conflict.”

Arancha refuted the idea that trade imbalances and deficits around the world — where the value of a country’s imports outweighs its exports, creating a trade deficit, or vice versa, creating a trade surplus — were the result of the global trading system.

“I think it’s wrong to put the trade deficit or the structural deficit of economies on the back of the world trading system,” she said, giving the European Union as an example.

“You have the same trade policy applicable to all 28 members of the union, the countries applying the same trade rules. But deficits and surpluses are different depending on the country so it must mean that there is something else other than trade rules that make for a good or bad deficit or surplus in your economy. A lot of this has to do with your ability to save or desire to overspend and the WTO is not going to fix this.”

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