International rules shall not be challenged
By Zhong Sheng
Washington’s disloyalty and limits-testing attempts were fully revealed by the frequent farces of disregarding international rules made by some US officials.
The White House has arbitrarily withdrawn from international agreements and organizations, recklessly started trade disputes with global countries and undermined the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Lately, some US officials went further and released a memorandum about the status of the developing countries in the WTO. In the memo, the US required substantial progress toward reform to be made by the WTO within 90 days, or else it will take unilateral actions.
Such a move, ignoring orders and treading on rules, caused widespread concern in the international community. Is the Uncle Sam really preparing for a global trade war?
The rule-based multilateral trading system is the cornerstone of economic globalization and free trade, and not private property of one or a few countries. The authority and effectiveness of the system must be respected and safeguarded.
Nearly 2/3 of the 164 WTO members are developing countries. The core values and fundamental principles of the organization are manifested in the Special and Differential Treatment, whose purpose is to ensure fair treatment for developing countries in the organization.
The majority of the WTO members advocate that these core values and fundamental principles be upheld regardless of how the organization is reformed. Any formulation of and revise to the rules shall respect the general will of the WTO members, and any act that ignores the authority of the WTO rules is considered a denial of justice.
Some American politicians should really introspect on why both proposals about the status of developing countries they submitted to the WTO met with opposing voices. Clearly, they were not on the side of the general will and justice, so a failure was destined.
No country in the international community can neglect the connections between rights and obligations. However, some people in the US are draining their brains to maximize their rights in the global market. As such egoism swells up, they completely forget about the international obligations that the US should assume as a major country.
They even claimed that fulfilling the obligations simply means that they are losing in the global market.
Calling for the revamp of rules in the name of so-called fairness and justice, they care little about fairness and justice. For these people, maintaining superiority in the world is their priority.
Ignoring the rules is considered a breach of promises and will be condemned by justice and punished by laws.
Since the US has repeatedly blocked the appointments of the judges to the WTO’s Appellate Body and caused a manpower shortage and deadlock in the division, 114 WTO members jointly issued a statement in June, demanding that the US immediately stop intervening in the appointment of the WTO’s judicial officers.
Meanwhile, the US has attracted mounting criticism from the international community for its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The comment of Fred Bergsten, co-founder of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in the US, is very representative: the unilateralist policy of the US will only isolate itself and no country will follow it.
Nothing can be done without rules. In the 21st century, when global countries become interdependent more than ever before, it is unprecedentedly urgent to improve and reinforce the global governance.
The international rules formulated by the members of the international community to represent their common interests must not be undermined. Whatever practice that puts one’s own interests above the international rules or advertises unilateralism is doomed to fail.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)