Former USTR Vetter: Trade system needs protection
May 24, 2018
Darci Vetter, the chief U.S. agriculture negotiator in the Obama administration, said that she has questions about the future of "the underlying trading system," including the rule-setting World Trade Organization and the expectation that the United States will be a leader on trade policy.
Without mentioning President Donald Trump, who has criticized the WTO severely, Vetter said that there are "questions we start talking about the WTO not being in our interest or undermining our sovereignty."
The WTO has "growing pains" in the relationship between the developed and developing countries and needs more transparency and enforcement, she said, but it has served the United States well in many ways.
Vetter, who negotiated the agriculture sections of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement from which Trump withdrew, said she is glad the other countries in that group are continuing their negotiations, and wishes the United States were still in it.
Vetter was part of a Farm Foundation Forum panel discussion with Greg Doud, the current chief agriculture negotiator, Al Johnson, who held the position from 2001 to 2005 during the first George W. Bush administration, and Richard Crowder who succeeded him and held it from 2006 to 2008.