The History and Future of the World Trade Organization

image of The History and Future of the World Trade Organization

The History and Future of the World Trade Organization is a comprehensive account of the economic, political and legal issues surrounding the creation of the WTO and its evolution. Fully illustrated with colour and black-and-white photos dating back to the early days of trade negotiations, the publication reviews the WTO's achievements as well as the challenges faced by the organization, and identifies the key questions that WTO members need to address in the future.



The creation of the multilateral trading system

Scholars and statesmen have long debated the truth of the sentiment that John Stuart Mill expressed on the peaceful nature of commerce. Whether or not he was right, one point is clear: he was not right immediately. Precisely a century would pass between the time he penned those words and GATT’s entry into force, and the intervening years witnessed two world wars, a great many other conflicts, and the beginnings of the lengthy Cold War whose intellectual roots reached back to other writings of 1848. The association between peace and commerce nevertheless survived the turbulent nineteenth century, as an aspiration if not always a fact, and was one of the principal objectives behind what would eventually become the WTO system. This chapter covers a period that begins immediately before Mill published his Principles of Political Economy (1848) and ends with the establishment of the WTO a century and half later. The chief emphasis here is on how countries moved from theory to practice, a process in which Mill’s own land and its two former colonies in North America each played leading roles.


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