World Trade Organization

Alan Beattie

Paraphrasing Churchill (who was speaking at a White House lunch, as it happens) to law-law is better than to war-war. Obviously disappointing that the Obama administration is willing to politicise a trade policy (or at least its timing) so blatantly, the US government starting a WTO case against China on auto parts the day that POTUS arrived to campaign in Ohio.

But that’s hardly new. George W Bush imposed steel import tariffs in 2002 ahead of the mid-term elections, knowing that by the time that the WTO had declared the tariffs illegal, as it duly did in November 2003, they would have done their electoral work. 

Alan Beattie

According to the New Zealand Herald, it is Tim Groser, New Zealand’s trade minister, who has ambitions to replace Pascal Lamy as director-general of the World Trade Organization, when the Frenchman steps down next summer.

In Mr Groser’s favour, he is smart and experienced. Formerly New Zealand’s ambassador to the WTO, he chaired the agriculture talks in the Doha round, which is not a job for the easily-frustrated or detail-averse.