Today is World Environment Day, a day that should warrant some reflection on how we relate to our surroundings. For me, working in trade, it is an occasion to think a little bit harder about how we can make international commerce greener without compromising on its potential to improve people's livelihoods.
BRUSSELS -- A discrepancy exists between the benefits of globalization on the one side and the legitimate values shared by diverse communities on the other. The benefits of globalization go with magnitude, with size. The larger, the better because of the economies of scale. Big is beautiful. Identity, legitimacy and politics go with proximity, the small and diseconomies of scale. Small is beautiful.
The U.S. chose a policy that could be called "integrate and insure." China was welcomed into the World Trade Organization, but the U.S.-Japan security treaty was revived to insure against China becoming a bully. If a rising China throws its weight around, it drives neighbors to seek to balance its power. In that sense, only China can contain China.
While I mourn the little over a dozen French people who died last week, I also mourn over the fact that world leaders are expected to march hand-in-hand when a dozen Europeans are slaughtered and not when thousands of Africans are slaughtered. The world's media and governmental structures have sent the message loud and clear: Africa can go to hell.
On July 19, Trade Ministers from the G20 group of countries will convene for their annual meeting in Sydney, Australia. The meetings can be used to build consensus toward positions that can be brought back to forums where decisions can be enforced, such as the WTO. And this is exactly what the US plans to do.