Chinese influence

Expert Voices

Pitfalls in the global trade system call for bold reforms

The World Trade Organization headquarters are seen in Geneva on April 12, 2018.
The World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The global trade system created in the aftermath of World War II has expanded economic prosperity, lifted millions out of poverty and contributed to global stability. But it hasn't kept up with the emergence of new major trading countries, advances in technology or new types of trade barriers.

The big picture: A growing number of people around the world, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, feel disenfranchised by the current order, which they hold responsible for widening income inequality and a decline in well-paying jobs. Reforms are needed if the rules-based trading system is to remain viable and relevant.

Expert Voices

Trump administration joins the China-Taiwan feud in Latin America

Tsai Ing-wen President of Taiwan (L) and Salvador Sanchez Ceren (R) President of El Salvador pose for the media
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and El Salvadorian President Salvador Sanchez Ceren during a meeting on January 12, 2017, in San Salvador. Photo: Alex Peña/LatinContent via Getty Images

The State Department announced last week that it would temporarily recall U.S. ambassadors to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Panama for consultations in Washington. The meetings will focus on recent decisions by Latin American countries to no longer recognize Taiwan and ways the U.S. can "support strong, independent, democratic institutions and economies throughout Central America and the Caribbean."

The big picture: China’s increasing political ties and economic heft in Latin America have been a subject of debate and concern among American analysts and policymakers for more than a decade. This diplomatic recall is the administration's latest attempt to counter Chinese outreach in the hemisphere.