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What We're Watching: Australia-China row escalates, COVAX falling behind, Mexico's crackdown on "foreign agents"

Australia takes China to the WTO: Amid a deepening diplomatic and trade dispute with China, Australia has upped the ante by taking its case to the World Trade Organization to probe what it calls China's "discriminatory [trade] actions." The complaint relates to Beijing's decision to slap an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley, which has been pummeling Australian growers and producers. (China accuses Australia of "dumping" barley at a discounted rate; Australia says that's nonsense.) Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sparred with Beijing over a range of issues, such as human rights, national security, and telecommunications. But what irked the Chinese the most was when Australia led the charge in calling for a global investigation into China's handling of the pandemic earlier this year, which prompted Beijing to slap tariffs on a host of Australian goods including wine, beef, barley, and coal that threaten about $20 billion worth of Australian exports. While the WTO filing is mostly symbolic, and the dispute could take years to adjudicate, the move is a significant escalation — and a risky one for Australia, which relies on China for 30 percent of its annual exports.

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No, don’t abolish the WTO. Reform it.

Have you ever read a major op-Ed and thought to yourself, "no! no! no! That's just not right!" Us too. That's why we're launching a new series called The Red Pen, where Ian Bremmer and the crew at Eurasia Group will pick apart the argument in a major opinion piece. Right, left, Republican, Democrat, American, Global — we aren't particular. We just want to keep writers honest. This week, we take the red pen to Senator Josh Hawley's Times op-ed calling for the end of the WTO. No, Josh, killing the WTO isn't a good idea — but reforming it is. Watch the video here, and stay in the red with us!

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