EU Rushes Out Proposals for WTO Revamp Amid Trump Trade Pressure

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union outlined ways to bolster the World Trade Organization in a bid to keep U.S. President Donald Trump committed to the global commercial order that America helped shape after World War II.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom presented a “concept paper” aimed at strengthening WTO rules against trade-distorting subsidies, averting a deadlock in the dispute-settlement system of the organization and enhancing its monitoring role. The bloc plans to share the ideas with trade partners at a Sept. 20 meeting in Geneva being organized by Canada.

“Despite its success, the World Trade Organization has not been able to adapt sufficiently to the rapidly changing global economy,” Malmstrom said in an emailed statement in Brussels on Tuesday. “The world has changed, the WTO has not. It’s high time to act to make the system able to address challenges of today’s global economy.”

In addition to fighting tariffs that Trump has unilaterally imposed or threatened to impose on billions of dollars of foreign goods as part of his “America First” agenda, the EU, Canada and other countries are seeking to head off a lingering threat by him to abandon the WTO.

Any U.S. withdrawal from the 164-member WTO would threaten the global economic order that the U.S. was instrumental in creating after the defeat of Fascism in the 1940s.

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