Ahead of the G20 Summit in Japan in June, US President Donald Trump tweeted that Vietnam is “almost the single worst abuser of everybody”.
December 11, 2019 was a watershed moment for the global trading system. On that day the Appellate Body of the WTO, the final arbiter of trade disputes, became defunct, only 24 years after its creation had been trumpeted as a major advance in the rule of international law.
At the recent G20 and G7 meetings in Osaka and Biarritz, world Leaders again expressed serious concern about the state of the WTO. From varying perspectives, it has not been able to stem rising protectionism, or to solve trade disputes efficiently, or to make progress on modernising trade rules.
With Parliament declaring a climate emergency and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) setting the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, there is little doubt that climate issues and the demands for action will remain high on the political agenda.
Hard Brexit proponents in the UK extol the virtues of leaving the EU without a deal on what is known as ‘WTO terms’. It is argued that much of global trade already takes place on such terms and there is nothing to fear about the UK falling back on this structure.
The number of companies that have successfully listed in Europe recently, and the list of those that are expected to go public in the near future is under-pinning indications of a very health stock market sector.
Few other countries command attention like North Korea. An outlier on the international stage, the country is viewed with a mixture of fascination and fear.
There is nothing new about the term “fake news”, the shiny new buzz word for this year. The expression first started floating around last year when Facebook came under scrutiny for publishing unverified content and “fake” news stories.