Context

THE US-CHINA trade war

The division over issues of trade ideology has always caused frictions between the United States and China.

Accusing China of reaping financial benefits from unfair economic policies, the Trump administration has taken a hard line against Beijing. Last April, President Donald Trump started a trade war against China, saying that such a policy would solve trade deficits with China and generate more jobs for the American people.

So far, the US has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods, totaling more than $250 billion while China has responded with tariffs on $110 billion worth of American goods. In a meeting took place in December 2018, China and the United States have agreed to a 90-day tariff truce to reach an agreement but experts say that the conflict is far from over.

The tit-for-tat tariff battle is not only hurting both the US and China but also many other countries that are economically dependent on the two powers, potentially causing serious harm to the multilateral trading system.

Committee

The World trade organization

The WTO was born out of the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a legal international agreement whose overall purpose was to promote trade among nations by reducing trade barriers.

The organization made up of 164 members, responsible for the regulation of international trade through functions such as but not limited to administering trade agreements, acting as a forum for trade negotiations, assisting developing countries in trade policy issues and most importantly, settling trade disputes.

A dispute arises when a member government believes another member government is violating a WTO agreement or a commitment. Although the real WTO is not a UN body, the simulated WTO committee in this conference will function as a UN committee, which means the debates are governed by the MUN rules of procedures. The context of the committee is a hypothetical scenario in which the US and China file a case of dispute regarding the current trade war with their own narratives.

The committee, consisting of third-party countries, will act as a tribunal and reach a final ruling through the passing of a resolution.


Issues to Consider

In light of the significant political and economic implications of the trade war, what should third-party countries propose to help the United States and China mitigate the differences over trade issues? To what extent does the US or China violate any principles of WTO in their trade practices and during the current trade war? Which side has more credible claims and justifications? The WTO committee will tackle these questions, discussing three contentious sub-topics: Government Subsidies, Intellectual Property, Tariffs.

However, many experts agree that the root cause of the ongoing conflict is more about the hegemonic competition between a rising and a declining power. China is becoming “a giant”, the next hegemon, as “the fall” of the US Empire will soon arrive. Yet, China always claims that its rise is peaceful and does not entail the ambition to replace the US as a hegemon. Nonetheless, a new world order might be underway.

This notion raises critical questions that delegates should keep in mind: How does geopolitics impact the third-party countries’ approaches to the trade war? Should countries prioritize maintaining good relations with the US or China over protecting their interests in the international trade system?


Participating Countries

This list is subjected to change

Context

Created after the catastrophic events of World War II, the ultimate goal of the United Nations is to achieve something its predecessor, the League of Nations, failed to accomplish: Maintaining world peace. Prior to the establishment of the UN, the lack of legal-binding international agreements, as well as a coordinated reaction from the international community in the face of growing fascism and militarism precipitated the second global war. Learning from this lesson, leaders around the world established the United Nations Security Council or UNSC as an international institution with necessary powers to intervene and protect world peace.

Unlike other UN bodies, whose resolutions are often recommendations without an implementing method, the UNSC’s resolutions are legal-binding and the council has a distinct enforcing mechanism. The UNSC consists of 15 members, 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent. Permanent members (P5), the USA, UK, France, USSR (later Russia) and China are all international political powerhouses, having significant influence over world security. The UN Charter determines that without the consensus among the permanent members, resolutions by proposed in the UNSC will not be passed. Specifically, each of the P5 countries possesses veto power that enables them to prevent the adoption of certain resolutions.

While this rule prohibits the UN from taking any action directly against its principal founding members, is also often criticized as the embodiment of great power politics, enabling these “giants” to determine or sabotage international agendas, contravening the UN’s principle of “every country is equal”. Therefore, several proposals have been raised to change the status quo regarding the veto power and membership, each with its own pros and cons, advocate and opposition. Nonetheless, they all signify that “a new world order” might be underway.

Committee: UN General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. It consists of all Member States and will convene in New York once annually. The voting procedure of the General Assembly is “one country, one vote”. The General Assembly can adopt resolutions based on the recommendations of its subsidiary organs and can pass resolutions on any topics within the scope of the United Nations, aside from security issues. The UN General Assembly’s resolutions would become recommendations for the Member States, and with the exception of budget-related documents, are non-binding.

All resolutions regarding recommendations on peace and security, budgetary concerns, and the election, admission, suspension or expulsion of members required a two-thirds majority among the member states. Every other resolution is adopted with a simple majority. Regarding the issue of reforming the UNSC, resolution by the UNGA will be passed with a two-thirds majority and the P5 must also agree.

Issues to consider

Being an international institution in charge of maintaining world peace, has the UNSC been an effective body? With the potential and apparent abuse of veto powers by powerful countries, should the veto power be abolished? Should there be reforms to the current membership of the UNSC to ensure equal representation regarding geographical location, religion, and economic development status


Participating Countries

This list is subjected to change