Laidi, 14 – Professor of International Relations at Sciences Po and director of research at the Center for European Studies at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (Zaki, “Towards a Post-Hegemonic World: The Multipolar Threat to the Multilateral Order,” Apr 25, 2014, http://www.laidi.com/sitedp/sites/default/files/IP_Towards%20a%20Post-Hegemonic%20World.pdf)//eek
A reassessment of the West’s gains from multilateralism If multilateralism has been seriously damaged by the rise of new actors and profound divisions between states situated at different levels of economic development, it has been further weakened by massive economic shifts in the world. In 1992, when the Earth Summit was launched in an effort to revitalize multilateralism after the Cold War, OECD countries accounted for 64% of global wealth. Today, rich and developing countries account for about 50% each. In less than ten years therefore the balance of economic power has altered enormously. This development in turn represents the end of one historical cycle that began in 1750 with the industrial revolution in the West and the beginning of another in which Asia will regain the position it had over two hundred and fifty years ago. In the very near future China’s GNP will have nominally outpaced that of the United States; and by 2030, the GNP of the United States and Europe together will only represent 26% of global GNP as opposed to the 51% it controlled in 2010 (World Bank, 2011). The magnitude of this ‘power shift’ has also been amplified by its unusually rapid progression. Thus when Obama took office in 2009, Chinese GNP was equivalent to 58% of U.S. GNP; by the end of his first term the share had grown to 80%. How could one imagine such a tectonic shift occurring, and leaving the rules of multilateralism, created 20 to 30 years ago, intact? But the implications of this shift are even deeper than these figures imply. For as the West has seen its relative share of global trade decrease, it has become more dependent on emerging markets to ensure its own prosperity. Granted, the latter still needs developed markets to support their growth and to access Western technologies. But emerging economies also know that developed countries need them more than ever since at least 70% of global purchasing power and 90% of the global population are now located outside of the West. Western economies are also burdened by large public deficits which dampen consumption and investment. Exports to emerging markets have therefore become a crucial source of growth, as Germany’s example shows. Even the American economy, long protected by the strength of its domestic market, has become crucially reliant on foreign markets. This is evidenced by the considerable increase in international trade as a share of U.S. GNP, from 13% in 1970 to 30% in 2006 (Aheam, 2012). Europe faces the same challenges. For a long time, it was protected by the exceptional intensity of intra-European trade relations. But the slowdown in growth and the maturity of its markets have lessened the importance of this factor. Exports are now the main driver of growth, and have helped to mitigate the effects of the recession (European Commission, 2013). Europe currently accounts for only 6% of global demand, versus 13% for the United States and 75% for emerging powers13. All of which is to say that the United States and Europe are essentially facing the same challenges, even though, contrary to popular belief, Europe has generally weathered the rise of emerging powers better than the United States: its share of the global market has remained stable, around 20%, while that of the United States has decreased by 4%. That said, Europeans and Americans face the same challenge from the emerging powers. This is the backdrop of the proposed free trade agreement between the United States and Europe and the accompanying feeling in both that emerging countries are punching well below their weight in terms of their contributions to global public goods (Rajamani, 2000). They further believe that on their most salient issues (investment, intellectual property, access to public procurement, access to services) the classical multilateral framework does not allow the West to extract the concessions it should be expecting from emerging powers. The Obama administration has been most vocal in articulating this view. As it put it: ‘[We] will offer a place at the table to any nation, group, or citizen willing to shoulder a fair share of the burden. [...] It will make it more difficult for others to abdicate their responsibilities’14. Robert Zoellick, the American president of the World Bank, reiterated the central idea that emerging powers should assume greater responsibility (Zoellick, 2010). The U.S. administration increasingly equates the opening of markets with job losses. While multilateral trade negotiations are supposed to benefit all the actors involved, the breakdown of gains by country or economic sectors is of course highly variable. America’s declining interest in multilateral trade negotiations can in large part be attributed to the fact that at the end of the Uruguay Round (1994) the country’s current account deficit was no more than 1% of its GNP; on the eve of the 2008 crisis, the figure had already risen to 6% (Agur, 2008). Yet according to the U.S., a WTO agreement along the lines of the latest proposals tabled in 2011 would have led to an increase in imports twice as high as the projected increase in exports. Even more worrisome for the U.S. was that such an agreement would benefit China more than other developing countries (Schott, 2011). This brings us back to our starting point: the United States’ deep dissatisfaction with a special and differential treatment mechanism that provides cover for emerging powers to not open their markets for goods and services (Schwab, 2011). More generally, the Western sees a series of unresolved problems with the trade practices of most emerging economies. These have focused, amongst other things, on (a) Government procurement in emerging economies (b) the weak rules underwriting intellectual property rights under the framework of the TRIPS agreement and the agreement on opening services markets 16; (c) Restrictions on investments in emerging countries; and (d) Subsidies to state-owned enterprises in emerging countries that are considered to be the source of unfair competition with Western companies, which receive little or no subsidies17. Europe strongly shares many of these concerns. Indeed, on nearly all these issues its interests are very close to those of the United States. However, unlike the US, Europe would never have dreamed of blocking the final stage of negotiations at the WTO in 2008. Europe supported the compromise proposed by Pascal Lamy and railed against American intransigence. Europe continued to sing the praises of multilateralism, even as its actions were deviating from it (Rompuy, 2012). It should be noted, however, that contrary to prevailing opinion, Europe’s trade position has suffered relatively less from the rise of emerging powers than that of the United States and Japan. Its share of global exports has remained remarkably stable since the mid-1990s, hovering around 20%. Meanwhile, the U.S. share fell 4.4% to 13%, versus 14% for China (European Commission, 2008). For their part, emerging countries put forward a hodgepodge of arguments: their under-developed economies; how little developed countries are offering in return for market access or in terms of financial compensation for climate change measures; developed countries maintaining high levels of protection for sensitive sectors despite a low general level (‘tariff peaks’); the West’s refusal to take into account its historical responsibility when assessing the costs associated with climate change, for example.