The headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, April 12, 2017.

Publication Type

Can the World Trade Organization be saved? Should it?

Policy Briefs 23-5
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse


Heads of state, trade ministers, and academics have repeatedly called for reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO), the institution charged with the stewardship of the global trading system. The durability and worth of the WTO are being increasingly questioned despite the fact that by almost all objective measures, it has been a great success, with world trade growing much faster than global GDP over the last 75 years. However, past success does not guarantee future performance. This Policy Brief examines the institution’s most serious defects and the multitude of challenges it faces. It suggests the institution needs to evolve to reach broad-based international trade agreements, adding much needed new rules to the world trade rulebook and developing effective means to settle disputes that would render the rules of the system enforceable once again.

Data Disclosure:

This publication does not include a replication package.

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