Frustration with hyperglobalization, China’s “economic imperialism,” and a seemingly broken world trading system is boiling over into serious calls for the United States to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO)—which would have potentially disastrous implications for the country if carried out.
For the first time since 2005, lawmakers from both parties and both houses of Congress are pushing to pull the United States out of the trading body it helped create and which was the culmination of decades of postwar efforts to boost free trade and economic integration. By law, the United States has a chance to vote every five years on staying inside the WTO, but staying on board was such a no-brainer in recent years that no such resolution was even presented. But this year—powered by a rise in economic nationalism, growing concern about China, and frustration with two decades of paralysis at the WTO—the knives on Capitol Hill are out, to the delight of some of the trade hard-liners in the White House.
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