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.


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