Developing countries have been long calling for rich countries to practice what they preach, and remove subsidies or allow them to support their own farmers. Over a decade ago, the US agreed to resolve the issue of cotton subsidies "ambitiously, expeditiously and particularly."
Governments are encountering real difficulty in finding common ground on the way forward. Yet the stakes could scarcely be higher for what over the years has proved to be one of the most successful international economic institutions. Why is progress proving so difficult now?
If we allow the WTO to expand liberalization, it would mean even more race-to-the-bottom policies would be bound by international law. Think of it as austerity but mandated legally, and just about impossible to get out of.
The idea of trade facilitation is simple: help developing countries implement measures to reduce the cost of trading across borders by improving infrastructure, institutions, services, policies, procedures, and market-oriented regulatory systems.
The epidemic of indecision is a global phenomenon with disastrous consequences. The need for global decision-making is becoming ever more critical as our decades-long beneficial trend toward more open economic policies begins to stall.
None too soon, Obama seems to have discovered that one of the best ways to create jobs and growth is through more world trade. To create the most jobs and the most growth through trade, he must also discover the World Trade Organization.