Letter to the Editor: Circumventing the WTO is dangerous

Sir, Jean-Pierre Lehmann’s letter (“Focus on EU-US deal risks further damage to global trade,” January 10) rightly cautions policy makers against focusing on trade agreements outside of the World Trade Organisation’s purview.


This lack of attention to advancing further trade liberalisation through the WTO’s rules-based, multilateral system can have other negative consequences, especially when negotiations are between developed and less developed countries.

In many cases, the rich, more powerful countries are spurred on by special interest groups to insert non-trade-related issues into bilateral agreements, such as labour and environmental standards, which function as a form of disguised protectionism. Such bullying is not likely in the consensus-based WTO.