As the United States strongly obstructed the selection and appointment of new judges, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body was forced to shut down on the 10th, and the dispute settlement mechanism, one of the three pillars of the WTO, fell into a de facto “brain death” state. For two years, the United States has been deliberately weakening the WTO’s functions. After the dispute settlement mechanism has ceased, trade dispute negotiations will basically stop, with a dramatic shock effect worldwide. This is what the United States likes to see. In this situation, it is necessary for China, together with most other countries, to study a transition plan to safeguard the principle of free and open world trade.
At present, the trend of economic globalization has not been interrupted, but the principle of globalization is being challenged by “America First.” The United States has arbitrarily taken unilateral trade actions and threatened to paralyze multilateral institutions with the threat of “withdrawing from the herd.” Whenever it is good for the United States, it is not good for the United States. In this case, other countries will need to adopt innovative methods to “hold the ball” more closely than ever before if they want to contain the United States. The bilateral or plurilateral free trade arrangements between countries may not be able to sue the United States, but they can put pressure on the United States in international public opinion. Considering the proportion of free trade agreements such as RCEP in world trade, its member states jointly issued The voice will force the United States to respond.
From the Japan-Korea trade dispute to the US-France digital tax dispute, bilateral or plurilateral issues are increasing their weight in global trade frictions, and trade issues are becoming more complex, leaving the WTO dispute settlement mechanism inseparable. But if China, Japan, and South Korea have established a free trade zone and include dispute settlement clauses, trade disputes between Japan and South Korea may have already been resolved in the region.
Globally, the dispute settlement mechanism is undergoing major changes. The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) has provisions that allow members to further limit the scope of disputes that can be submitted for investment arbitration through means such as “freezing clauses” and exchange of letters. The US-Mexico Free Trade Agreement has also been retained by Canada. Trade dispute settlement mechanism.
Against this background, in the process of co-construction of the “Belt and Road”, can we consider adding a dispute settlement mechanism. The development levels of the countries along the “Belt and Road” are different, and some differences and frictions will inevitably arise in the process of high-quality sustainable development of the “Belt and Road”. If there is a dispute settlement mechanism, legal, fair, and transparent solutions to economic and trade issues will be provided. It is much better than controversy or delay that affects the overall situation of cooperation. The same is true of the RCEP agreement. Once the RCEP is signed, we can also work with the European Union to reach an Eurasian dispute settlement agency, laying the foundation for deepening cooperation in the future and even signing a free trade agreement.
The development levels of the “BRIC countries” are different. At present, there are many difficulties in signing a free trade agreement, but the investment and trade exchanges between China, Russia, China, India, China, Pakistan and China and South Africa have become increasingly close. It is necessary for the four countries to establish a dispute settlement mechanism under the framework of the bank. China and South Korea, China and the ASEAN Free Trade Area in the upgraded version of the negotiations, in the China-Japan-Korea Free Trade Area negotiations, you can consider joining the dispute settlement agency content. If such a mechanism exists in the future China-Japan-Korea Free Trade Zone, trade frictions between Japan and South Korea will not have to be appealed to multilateral agencies, but can be resolved through the three countries’ experts and judges, which will increase bilateral or plurilateral economic and trade frictions. Efficiency of resolution.
Of course, multilateralism is the general trend, and all the plurilateral or bilateral dispute settlement mechanisms we are discussing are a transitional option at a time of deep changes in globalization.