The trade chief of the European Union expressed open support for Japan, a country on a mission to change the WTO by upgrading and modernizing it. Japan will use the G20 presidency next year, held in June in Tokyo, to submit a joint proposal with the United States calling for tougher rules against trade-distorting subsidies, among other reforms. The European Union is making it clear that Japan and other nations are pushing reforms that would single-out countries like China that force technology transfer from countries that do business in China. There is a general agreement in Japan, the US and Europe that these practices are unfair.
Note that this week, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the upcoming G20, a key meeting that will address the ongoing trade dispute between the number 1 and number 2 economies on the planet. Some say, and we tend to agree, that the trade issues are structural and built for trade deficits. But the WTO will be the key point of discussion in 2019 – the US wants to tear it down, Japan agrees.
Trump has criticized the WTO, saying that the methods it uses to set rules for global trade and the manner in which it resolves disputes between member states, has been biased agains the United States. The US has threatened to pull out of the organization if it fails to institute meaningful reforms in the near future.