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  • Eyes on Trade is a blog by the staff of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch (GTW) division. GTW aims to promote democracy by challenging corporate globalization, arguing that the current globalization model is neither a random inevitability nor "free trade." Eyes on Trade is a space for interested parties to share information about globalization and trade issues, and in particular for us to share our watchdogging insights with you! GTW director Lori Wallach's initial post explains it all.


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November 18, 2008

WTO case against U.S. auto industry bailout??

We've been warning about this for some time, but there is an ongoing WTO threat to our plans to usher in a green energy revolution here in the U.S. See this news on the U.S. auto bailout, which includes several greening components:

The European Union might complain to the World Trade Organisation about U.S. plans to help its stricken car industry, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Friday.

Democrats in the United States Congress are trying to draw up a $25 billion bail-out for American automakers, who are struggling to survive the financial crisis.

"We are in the process of analysing the plan. The plan has not yet been presented yet. Of course, if it is illegal state aid, we will act at a WTO level," Barroso told Europe 1 radio.


Honestly, I've even been a doubter at times as to whether these challenges would ever materialize. But as this news shows, whenever there is real money on the line - and the green revolution is nothing if not MONEY - there will be a WTO challenge.


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Pete Murphy

So the WTO will "take action." So what? The WTO is a toothless tiger. It has no power whatsoever. Even if it finds against the U.S. in such matters and the U.S. doesn't relent, the only power it has is to authorize other nations to take punitive measures, which is nothing more than they would have done if the WTO never existed. So if others raise tariffs, we simply raise our own. It's impossible to lose in this game when we already have an enormous trade deficit.

Pete Murphy
Author, "Five Short Blasts"

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