Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
World Trade Organization (WTO)
Patrick A. Messerlin
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the heir of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The GATT treaty was hastily—almost by default—adopted in 1948, and GATT as an institution was barely known until the mid-1980s. For many years, it had little in common with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, the World Bank) or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both founded in 1944 with great unanimity and pomp. However, half a century later, the WTO is widely seen as an institution that is as important as the two others. Such success is due largely to GATT's capacity to fit well the basic economics and politics of trade policy, a crucial heritage for the WTO. GATT was largely shaped by the views of Cordell Hull, Roosevelt's Secretary of State (and in 1945, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in creating the United Nations). Hull ...