November 24, 2021

LETTER to Ambassador Tai: How the U.S. Can Get WTO Reform Right at MC12

Crapo, Brady outline priorities in WTO reform to “revitalize the rules-based trading system”

Washington, D.C.-- With global trade at a critical crossroads, Senate Committee on Finance Republican Leader Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and House Committee on Ways and Means Republican Leader Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas) wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai calling for the United States to demonstrate leadership by pushing for strong outcomes in reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference.

The letter outlines five key priorities:

  • “First, we must show that the negotiating function of the WTO can deliver significant trade agreements, including by insisting on a high-standard fisheries subsidies agreement,” but we “should not accept an agreement at any cost, including one that allows countries to inappropriately claim special and differential treatment or allows for unreasonable stand-still periods.”
  • “Second, we must pursue opportunities to promote digital trade,” including by seeking ambitious outcomes on electronic commerce negotiations, butwe must oppose…letting the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions expire.”
  • “Third, we must show that trade rules support rather than undermine public health, including in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” including addressing trade restrictions that create manufacturing or supply chain bottlenecks for critical medical or pharmaceutical products, but “we must not…waive our intellectual property (IP) rights for COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO TRIPS Agreement.”  
  • “Fourth, we must work to strengthen disciplines to combat subsidies and abusive practices by non-market economies—a position which has broad bipartisan support,” but we should not “distract from this focus by joining the proposed Fossil Fuels Subsidies Ministerial Statement.”
  • “Finally, we must work to reform dispute settlement to ensure the United States and other WTO Members can enforce their rights—fast enough to ensure that those rights can be fully vindicated.”

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.