Brazil Gets Ready to Punish the U.S. for Violating International Law

by Julian Ku

It is always unpleasant to get lectured by foreign governments about “violating international law”, but this is something U.S. government officials should be used to.  Still, it must be galling for the new U.S. administration to be lectured by Brazil’s president over U.S. non-compliance with a WTO ruling on cotton subsidies.

The United States must comply with a World Trade Organization ruling on U.S. cotton subsidies to uphold international law and order, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Wednesday.

Brazil detailed on Monday a list of 102 U.S. goods that will be subject to import tariffs within 30 days unless both countries can reach an agreement to settle a long-standing dispute over U.S. cotton aid considered illegal by the WTO.

“Brazil is not interested in confrontation. We’re interested in respect for the decisions of the WTO. Either we respect institutions or the world will fall into disarray,” Lula said during the inauguration of a power plant in near Sao Paulo.

The U.S. is ready to make a deal, except that it has very little to deal with. After all, the U.S. Congress (with full knowledge it was violating the WTO ruling), re-authorized the subsidies at dispute here.  So the best the U.S. Trade Rep can do is promise to try to get Congress to change the law.  If I am Brazil’s President, I wouldn’t take that deal.

http://opiniojuris.org/2010/03/11/brazil-gets-ready-to-punish-the-us-for-violating-international-lawit/

2 Responses

  1. IL Process at work.  Not as bad as the Banana Wars.  I would not take that deal either if I was Brazil.  Each side ups the ante until attention gets to the level that a solution can be found.  Usually stuff in the International Trade System.  Reminds me of the Domestic International Sales Corporation (I think that is right) with the Europeans a few years back.
    Best,
    Ben

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  1. [...] March 11, 2010 In a dispute that’s been going on for years now, Brazil is preparing to levy tariffs on 102 different U.S. goods – in retaliation for the U.S.’s refusal to comply with a WTO cotton subsidies [...]