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Evaluate the evolution of the world trade system

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  1. Introduction.
  2. A system more and more liberalized .
    1. The evolution of GATT.
    2. Theories: Hegemon.
    3. Incomplete liberalization under the GATT.
    4. Creation of WTO.
    5. Resistance to further liberalization.
  3. The legalization of the system.
    1. WTO more legalized and fairer.
    2. The critics.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

Before the creation of a world trade system in 1947, the countries had protectionist economic policies or preferential trade agreements for the Empires as the one of Britain and France. In the 1930s, these policies clearly showed their limits with the economic depression and the World War II. As a result, the Western allied powers were willing to build a stable and durable world trade system. The ?world trade system' can be define as being the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), created in 1947 and then the World Trade Organisation (WTO), replacing it in 1995. Above all, this system aimed at stopping any attempt of ?backsliding? from the countries by making them interdependent. These organisations allowed a greater welfare in the trade relations and put an end to the inefficiency of unilateral tariff setting. The creation of the GATT and its evolution deeply reflected the willingness of the United States to liberalize the world trade. Thus, for nearly fifty years, the world trade system clearly evolved in two main directions.

[...] To conclude this first part, if the world trade system has been deeply liberalized principally because of the willingness of the western countries and the United States, one must not ignore the resistances to the liberalization not only from the developing countries but from the developed countries as well, which see their own interest in not opening their market entirely. This can be seen as a realist attitude, because developed countries used the WTO only for the increase of their hegemony and resist to any evolution that would weaken them (like the opening of their market to agriculture products and textile). [...]


[...] Thus, the large mandate of the WTO and the reinforcement of its system reinforced the liberalization of trade and countries' integration in the world system. Resistance to further liberalization However the great liberalization achieved in the world trade system, resistances to this trend are noticeable and first of all in developing countries. For example, before the Uruguay Round, they strongly refused any further expansion of the coverage of the GATT system (Whalley p. 23). Indeed, their developmental strategy judged it acceptable or desirable to use quotas exchange and high tariffs rationing as a trade-restricting mean. [...]


[...] Al, The evolution of the trade regime, Princeton: Princeton University Press - Cox Robert, Approaches to World Order, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press - Jackson John H. The World Trading System, Law and Policy of International Economic Relations, 2nd Edition, The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, London, England -Kehoane, Robert, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy, Princeton: Guildford: Princeton University Press -Kindleberger, Charles Poor, The World in Depression, 1929-1939, Harmondsworth: Penguin - Ross Buckley, The Changing Face of World Trade and the Greatest Challenge Facing the WTO and the World Today, in Ross PP. [...]

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