The Role of the World Trade Organization in Global Governance

By Gary P. Sampson | Go to book overview

5
Challenges facing the WTO and policies
to address global governance

Chairman, Goldman Sachs International;
President, Overseas Development Council;
Senior Fellow, Overseas Development Council
Peter Sutherland, John Sewell, and David Weiner

Origins of the WTO's new challenges

The multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its centre, is the most important tool of global economic management and development we possess. Its record—under the old General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as well as its successor, the WTO—has been remarkable. Over the past 50 years, it has created wealth in its industrialized members, brought poor nations from backward, rural economies to super-competitive commercial giants, and opened up prospects for today's poorest countries to advance.

Yet, although the institution has already shown itself to be a success, and it has much more to offer in the future, the WTO today is under strong attack. Much of this criticism is a reflection of a perception, on the one hand, that the WTO has not—and will not—resolve every problem facing the global economy and social development and, on the other, that the machine is out of gear, idling, and failing to tackle the new challenges presented by the process of globalization.

Many governments appear to believe that they, and the institution, are best left to digest what has already been achieved. That has

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