As China endorses a reformer as president and the EU and US plan a free-trade pact, the competition to set trade rules heats up. A EU-US pact would strengthen their economies and send a signal to China to take more responsibility for higher trade standards.
President Obama's ambitious goal for free-trade pacts with Europe and Asia depends on solving emotional disputes over food and agriculture. Leaders need to deal with people's deep concerns about what they eat, farming culture, and culinary identity.
China's model of state-run capitalism needs a massive challenge from the two giant market economies. Obama must win a US-EU trade pact in his second term.
In a tripartite challenge against China's export restrictions on rare earth materials, the US, European Union, and Japan filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization.