This evening, trade officials from 12 countries will be landing in Ottawa for the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting, hosted by the Canadian government. The summit will kick off with a private dinner, followed by a full day of meetings tomorrow. The WTO essentially deals with everything related to international trade, and works to resolve issues affecting trade in every part of the world.
The other participating countries in today's summit are Australia, Brazil, Chile, the European Union, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland. According to the Canadian government, the goal of the meeting is to "identify concrete actions to enhance and improve the WTO over the short, medium and long term."
A few weeks ago, it was revealed that the US was completely banned from the meeting for not being "like-minded" enough as the other countries involved. Another major nation that has been excluded from the invite list is China, for similar reasons.
For months, Canada and the US were in conflict after Trump imposed tariffs on imported goods. Trudeau responded with retaliatory tariffs on Canadian exports to the US, and the fate of US-Canadian trade hung in the balance as Trump threatened to cut Canada off completely from trade with the US. Finally, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) agreement was announced.
Still, the new trade deal was apparently not good enough for the US to score an invite to Ottawa. That's because, as Canada's International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr told the CBC, the US has "shown no real interest in most of the reform agenda" that the WTO will be discussing at the meeting. "It's not surprising that some of the other countries want to get together and discuss these issues before engaging with the United States."
"The United States has been stressing the rule of power while undermining the rule of law in international trade. This is inexcusable," Carr says.
"My instinct is that the U.S. wants to pick a fight at the WTO on these tariffs ... (and) the U.S. would be less inclined to resolve this issue with Mexico and Canada for fear of rocking the boat on its position," a trade expert told the Western Star.