Press Release

June 9, 2021
Cardin, Portman Applaud Senate Passage of Resolution Supporting Reform of the World Trade Organization

Resolution Also Supports U.S. Leadership at WTO 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) applauded passage of their bipartisan resolution expressing support for U.S. leadership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) while also calling for reform to parts of the institution. The resolution was included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which just passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support.

The resolution describes the long history of productive American leadership at the WTO, as well as the ways in which the WTO has failed to address new trade barriers and market distortions by countries like China.

“The World Trade Organization is an important tool to engage with other international leaders to promote these fundamental ideals, but it is not without its shortcomings. Reforms must be pursued for the WTO to succeed in its mission of promoting a rules-based trading system,” said Cardin. “The United States, as the world’s largest economy, has responsibility to be a leader on the global stage. We must make every effort to create and maintain rules-based systems and advocate relentlessly to ensure stability, human rights, and economic development.”

“As a former U.S. Trade Representative, I understand the value and usefulness of the United States’ involvement in the WTO,” said Portman. “There has been a consistent bipartisan critique of certain aspects of the WTO and with the passage of this resolution we can start to address and fix some of the shortcomings of the WTO in order to support American workers against unfair foreign trade practices and enhance the ability of American farmers, workers, and businesses to access foreign markets.”

The resolution also offers specific reform proposals of the WTO including (1) expanding the use of multi-national trade agreements between countries to ensure that only countries party to the trade agreement get the benefits of membership; (2) restoring the intended meaning to trade remedy provisions that, thanks to the WTO’s judicial activism, have limited the ability of the United States to crack down on foreign trade cheats; (3) beefing up rules against currency manipulation; and (4) creating new rules to discipline subsidies and state-owned enterprises.