Jun 29, 2018

Between the lines: China and Trump are in a different place on the WTO

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump has repeatedly told top White House officials that he wants to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported earlier today.

My thought bubble: China has benefited enormously from its accession to the WTO and it does not want global trading disrupted by anyone else. It also sees massive propaganda value in portraying itself as a responsible actor in contrast to the U.S. under President Trump, and it is finding many supporters among nations that in a different time would be on the U.S.' side.

Between the lines: China on Thursday released a white paper "China and the World Trade Organization". As the foreword of the white paper explains:

"Since its accession to the WTO, China has been a strong advocate for free trade. China has comprehensively fulfilled its commitments to the WTO, substantially opened its market to the world, and delivered mutually beneficial and win-win outcomes on a wider scale. Through these efforts, China has lived up to its responsibility as a major countryThe Chinese government is publishing this white paper to give a full account of China’s fulfillment of its WTO commitments, to explain China’s principles, stances, policies, and propositions regarding the multilateral trading system, and to describe China’s vision and actions in advancing higher-level reform and opening-up."

Go deeper:

  • Read Axios' full report on Trump wanting to exit the WTO.
  • The EU agreed this week to work to shore up the global trading systems.
  • China announced Thursday the reduction of official curbs on foreign investment in a number of sectors.

Go deeper

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President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.