Dreaming Of An America Without the WTO
The World Trade Organization currently lords over the United States in all matters relating to international trade. We can’t make any decisions without fear of a WTO ruling against us.
We have been stuck with the WTO for nearly two decades now, and the results have been disastrous: shuttered factories, lost jobs, and a devastated economy. What would an America without the WTO look like?
For one thing, we would once again have the constitutional right to regulate our international trade relations. This means we could place tariffs on items that threatened American manufacturers, while lowering them in areas where we didn’t need them. Under the current WTO charter every nation has most-favored nation status with the United States, meaning our trade policy has to be a one-size-fits-all approach that has failed us horribly. Why should Chinese goods, made with cheap labor and low environmental and safety standards, enjoy the same level of access to the United States as a product made in Canada or Germany, whose standards are much closer to ours. If we dumped the WTO we could finally have fair trade.
In an America without the WTO we could also enact our own consumer safety standards without the fear of WTO penalties. The WTO has repeatedly ruled against domestic U.S. laws that were intended to protect American citizens, despite the fact that these laws had nothing to do with trade. In one case the U.S. banned flavored cigarettes because they encourage teenagers and children to take up smoking. This ruling was challenged by countries that exported these cigarettes to the United States, claiming that it was a barrier to trade. The WTO ruled against the United States, saying this ban on flavored cigarettes was illegal. If we got rid of the WTO we would not have to worry about this kind of interference.
These are only a few of the positive changes that would come about if we rid ourselves of our obligation to the WTO. We have the power to do so, we just need our leaders to start acting in the best interest of America instead of the special interests. The United States is on a troubling path, but we can reverse that course if we get out of the WTO and start controlling our own fate once again.