This is what advocates of so called ‘free trade ‘ do not want you to consider. Would you ‘trade’ ( no pun intended) sovereignty for dubious access for some of your goods? When it is all peeled away and the brutal truth is exposed one can understand the reluctance and outright skepticism of many Americans and many of the British people. That’s when the rubber hits the road!
It is never put like that, is it? You see economic free trade , the free flow of goods and services across national boundaries is one thing. It is quite another to go further and establish quasi judicial boards of unelected people, faceless bureaucrats , who have the power to decide over issues that impinge upon the sovereignty of a nation. That’s what happens when one considers The World Trade Association.
John Bolton , scholar with the American Enterproise Institute , writes in the Wall Street Journal today:
‘ Earlier this month the administration ( Trump) submitted the annual National Trade Policy Agenda to Congress. The submission takes particular aim at the World Trade Organization’s “Dispute Settlement Understanding,” which provides a quasi-judicial process for resolving international trade disagreements. Although technical, even arcane, the DSU is dear to the hearts of global-governance advocates. The Trump administration is right to criticize its performance.
Agreed to during the Uruguay Round of world trade talks in 1994, the DSU has had some successes. But it is often criticized for failing to deter violations of the WTO’s substantive trade provisions and for too often exceeding its mandate by imposing new obligations on one or more parties, particularly against American interests.
This alarming trend extends beyond trade. A rising number of international agreements create “judicial” or “legislative” bodies that interpret and expand obligations well beyond what is laid out in underlying treaties, placing them beyond the effective control of domestic democratic institutions. This trend raises legitimate fears among states that they will lose sovereign authority. This fear is particularly acute in America, where the Constitution unmistakably fixes sovereignty in “We the People.”
The U.S. has in the past rejected or renounced international agreements that were not conducive to its interests. In 1986 the Reagan administration withdrew from the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. In 2002 the Bush administration unsigned the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court. The U.S., thankfully, still has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty, thereby avoiding the jurisdiction of the tribunal it creates.’
In the case of UK and the EU , farmers and other producers in Britain saw international panels in Brussels determining the nature and extent of their products to the extent that national sovereignty and the national Parliament powers were being eroded. Elected Westminster was taking a back seat to unelected panels of non British people about their economy . Heavy stuff.
I believe in free trade –who doesn’t ! But not to the extent that national powers vested in the National Parliament are transferred to International Panels.
My view of the world is one of nation states acting peacefully, engaging in fair trade of goods and services . Nation states compose proud people , who have a history , geography and culture which is worth preserving thereby enriching the world. To somehow have this morphed into some homogenized blob of multilateralism , run by unelected persons from wherever , defies history , diversity and speaks to a degradation of humanity not its enhancement.