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. [...]
[...] Then, the Tokyo Round (1973-79) widened the competence and activity of GATT not through amendments to the treaty, but through a series of separate instruments or each of which was a kind of standalone treaty. They also attacked non-tariff measures that were obstacles to a liberal trade, such as product standards, and began to use antidumping and anti-quotas measures (Jackson p. 42-43). Then, in the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War, enlarged the GATT's system could apply to a larger part of the world and this gave a free hand to Washington to set the rule of the trade system. [...]
[...] The world trade system had been created by a club of elites of western countries (like the gramscianist analysis shows), trying to spread capitalism through the liberalization of trade. But because voting became an exception and consensus decision-making the rule, the level of participating increased. Thus, each country owns a veto, a risk that increases debates, contestations and, in short, amplified the level of politics in the decision-making process. Thus, in the 1960s, the GATT was officially less and less a club organisation due to the use of the consensus in the decision-making process. [...]
[...] WTO more legalized, fairer With the WTO, the world trade system became more legal-based and more standardized, first of all because the WTO was an organization and not a simple agreement like the GATT. Its agenda covered many markets, and so ruled more largely the trade relations. Thanks to that, it was legally clearer. Moreover, developing countries benefited from a special and differential treatment They had lower level of obligations, more flexible implementation tables, more favourable terms, developed countries committed to take developing countries' interests into account, and technical assistance was promised. [...]
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