U.S trade chief hailing victory of factions by WTO countries

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer speaks at the 11th World Trade Organization's ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Vastavam web: The World Trade Organization failed to conclude any new agreements at its biennial meeting this week, but U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade chief is hailing as a victory the formation of factions by some WTO countries to push their own interests.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Thursday that the ministerial conference in Buenos Aires “will be remembered as the moment when the impasse at the WTO was broken.”

Despite his sharp criticism of the 164-member trade body’s inability to negotiate new agreements, Lighthizer managed to attract enough allies at the meeting to form smaller groups of countries to pursue new rules for open electronic commerce and to break down unreasonable trade barriers on food safety.“Many members recognized that the WTO must pursue a fresh start in key areas so that like-minded WTO members and their constituents are not held back by the few members that are not ready to act,” added Lighthizer, who left Buenos Aires the night before the conference concluded on Wednesday.

The U.S. trade agency and India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry traded thinly veiled barbs at each other for holding up progress in Buenos Aires.Lighthizer blamed “one WTO member with an extreme position” for blocking a short ministerial declaration expressing the shared views of 164 members.The U.S. trade agency and India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry traded thinly veiled barbs at each other for holding up progress in Buenos Aires.Lighthizer blamed “one WTO member with an extreme position” for blocking a short ministerial declaration expressing the shared views of 164 members.Lighthizer added that he was “proud to defend the interests of U.S. stakeholders at the WTO, including our farmers and ranchers.”