For those interested in hearing more about the China-Vermont trade issues I mentioned the other day, here are some of the relevant documents: http://www.worldtradelaw.net/chinavermont.pdf They include: a press statement by the Vermont legislator involved; the original letter sent by the Chinese government agency; an analysis of the legal issues by the Forum on Democracy and Trade; and a letter from the Vermont legislator to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
This situations raises a few questions for me:
- How should these issues be dealt with: Should foreign governments be able to lobby state governments directly, or should they go to USTR or the DOC instead? If they are to go directly to state governments, are there special rules or procedures they should follow?
- Should USTR/DOC be offering assistance to state governments who are faced with these issues?
- Will China continue to go directly to state governments given the reaction here?
- Was the Vermont legislator correct to be so upset? Couldn't Vermont just ignore China's letter entirely?
- More broadly, what is the role of sub-national governments in the international trading system? GATT Article XXIV:12 is a little vague on this.