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Opinion: UNCTAD Needs To Figure Out Tariffs Fast

By Buzzfeed News at 9:01 AM 5/31/2020 (PDT)

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding tariffs, and if UNCTAD wants to make a resolution they’ll need to figure it out. And soon.

The countries in UNCTAD are stumbling upon how to manipulate tariffs for use in their resolutions. Pakistan was the first to bring it up by suggesting lowering tariffs for the countries who decide to opt out of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It could be argued that Pakistan is only saying this because they will be opting out of NGOs and doesn’t want to pay tariffs. China chimed in and explained that this tactic has been tried before with other countries and they refused to reduce tariffs. They made it clear that in order for tariffs to work, they would need to negotiate with lots of other countries.

Now it seems that tariffs will not work for this resolution.

To help with the negotiation of tariffs, China recommended that they establish trade relationships in pairs that form symbiotic relationships. One example given was a country that needs rubber could establish a relationship with a country that produces rubber. If these relationships were created, then they could mutually reduce the tariffs for trade of that specific item. This would help out the countries who opted out of NGOs.

Now it seems that tariffs will work for this resolution.

During roughly 30 minutes of debate UNCTAD shifted from tariffs being a bad idea, to tariffs being a great idea. This has caused a lot of confusion in the committee. UNCTAD needs to gather their ideas surrounding tariffs and create a detailed policy that works for everyone. For now, they are debating in circles and they will be unable to reach an effective solution without figuring tariffs out.

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