05.12.2019

Indian dailies have commented on the crisis at the WTO that has been created by a US led block on new appointments to the appellate body. Newspapers have discussed the seven decades old transatlantic alliance (NATO) which is facing an existential crisis. Print media has observed, global temperatures have risen above the pre-industrial average.

THE ECONOMIC TIMES in an editorial IN A WTO WITHOUT DISPUTE SETTLEMENT writes India’s international trade, already affected by the global slowdown, could face further headwinds. The appellate body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would almost certainly become non-functional soon, because America has blocked new appointments to the court. India’s trade policy needs to anticipate a broken dispute-settlement mechanism at the WTO, for now, and take proactive action, including to promptly seek regional and bilateral trade pacts. The WTO appellate court is supposed to consist of seven judges; the court decides on appeals against decisions by the Dispute Settlement Mechanism on alleged violation of global trade rules. But the WTO bench has of late dwindled to just three judges, and two of them will retire this month; a single judge cannot hold court. So, dispute settlement may well go into deep freeze at WTO, unless the Trump administration does a rethink, which is unlikely. The way forward would be to rationalise tariffs, so as to gain from increased trade and openness. In tandem, there is the pressing need to shore up innovation, enterprise and profit from trade gains.

THE TIMES OF INDIA in an editorial NATO IMPLODING says not all’s well with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The trans-Atlantic alliance that has underpinned the post-World War II Western order is no longer pulling in one direction. This was apparent in the recent public sparring between US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in London where both leaders had convened to mark seven decades of the transatlantic alliance. Trump jibed at Macron by asking him if he would like to take back some Islamic State (IS) fighters the Americans had captured in Syria. However, Macron hit back saying that the project of defeating IS hasn’t been finished, contrary to what Trump has been claiming. The tense exchange was preceded by Macron declaring in an interview that NATO was suffering from “brain death” over the many differences wracking the alliance. Issues like Syria, the role of Turkey, the Russian challenge, China and trade protectionism no longer elicit a joint position from alliance members.

THE ASIAN AGE in an editorial MADRID CoP 2019: Observes, the World Meteorological Organisation has said that global temperatures were 1.1 degrees (Celsius) above the pre-industrial average, and that 2019 was one of the three hottest years ever recorded. Oceans, which are supposed to absorb the excess heat have themselves become too acidic, threatening the marine ecosystem on which most humans significantly rely. Each decade produces a rise of 0.1 to 0.2 degrees, which means that before long we will hit the danger mark of a global average of 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial mark. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres pointed out that though humans had the technology and the money to arrest this trend, we lacked the will to do so. This is most obvious when it comes to the US, whose President pulled out of the 2015 Paris Agreement. India has done well to push forward on cutting emissions to help slow down the temperature rise, though the greenhouse effect is a legacy bequeathed to us by the developed West.