The United States this week refused to agree to language in a statement on international trade at the OECD ministerial in Paris, instead opting to issue a separate statement focused on trade enforcement. Without having the support of the U.S., the chair of the OECD ministerial opted to issue another statement that endorsed numerous aspects of trade policy, including resisting protectionism.
[Brett Fortnam] June 8th, 2017 [Inside Trade]
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer represented the U.S. at the June 7-8 ministerial.
The chair’s statement was on “international trade, investment and climate change” and included an endorsement of the Paris climate agreement, which the U.S. withdrew from last week. During a June 8 press conference after the close of the ministerial, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría cited clear and public differences of opinion among members on trade and climate policy that made a consensus on language in those areas impossible.
Gurría said the lack of a consensus was obvious based on “some events about climate which showed that there may be differences of opinion” — signaling the U.S. was not among the “very large majority” that endorsed the chair statement. The situation was “the same thing with trade,” he said.
OECD ministers did issue a statement — agreed to by a consensus of members — that endorsed “open markets.”
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