Commentary Type

Trade for Peace: The multilateral trading system was founded to underwrite peace


After two world wars, the linkage has renewed relevance today

Remarks delivered at Geneva Trade Week, Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland


Two examples of the relationship between trade and peace dominate modern history. The first had its origins at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. US President Woodrow Wilson linked trade and peace in his 14 points for shaping the world after the Great War. His Point 3 called for:

The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

This paragraph linked trade conditions with the maintenance of peace. Wilson's effort failed. The Fourteen Points were formally adopted, but no implementation occurred. The consequences were severe.

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