On October 21, 2011, President Obama signed into law three bills that implement three bilateral trade promotion or “free trade” agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea that were initially negotiated and signed in 2006 (Colombia) and 2007 (Panama and Korea).
The September 5th World Trade Organization Appellate Body report in US – Tyres (China), WT/DS399, affirmed the right of the United States faced with market disruption from surging imports from China to make use of a special transitional safeguard China accepted as part of its accession protocol to the WTO in 2001. For the industries and their workers who have sought relief under the U.S. law implementing this right (Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 2451)), it was a vindication of the correctness of their cause.
While analyses in the media suggest that many countries are rethinking free trade, a group of developing countries recently took unprecedented steps to liberalize trade with each other. It will be worth watching how these countries build on the framework worked out on December 2, 2009, in Geneva.
The United States and a few of its trading partners scored a victory at the WTO recently when a panel found that Chinese measures affecting the importation of auto parts were inconsistent with China’s obligations under the WTO Agreement because they gave imported auto parts less favorable treatment than domestic auto parts. China – Measures Affecting Imports of Automobile Parts, WT/DS339, 340, 342/R.