WTO mission statement
The World Trade Organization — the WTO — is the international organization whose primary purpose is to open trade for the benefit of all. (About the WTO — a statement by the Director-General, 2012)
The WTO has existed under its current name since 1995. (About the WTO — a statement by the Director-General, 2012) The following analysis discusses the period from 1995 to the current time, but focuses on the last 10 years. Further, this analysis will suggest that the WTO has been mostly ineffective in accomplishing its primary mission. The scope of this article is not to determine whether free trade itself is a positive concept, instead it is to determine the effectiveness of the WTO in accomplishing its stated mission.
A paper written by National Bureau of Research Associate Andrew Rose in 2002 concludes that the WTO has not contributed to free trade. Rose uses a number of published studies and conducts a regression analysis to argue his conclusion. It is worth noting that the studies used by Rose were almost entirely from the GATT time period with the vast majority being from the 1980’s. Rose’s conclusions are suspect without other supporting evidence. Rose states, “Almost no measures of trade policy are significantly correlated with GATT/WTO membership. Trade liberalizations, when they occur, usually lag GATT entry by many years, and the GATT/WTO often admits countries that are closed and remain closed for years.” Rose concludes that “It seems there is little obvious connection between GATT/WTO membership and trade policy.” (Rose, 2002)
One of the most recent and notable WTO activities was the called the “Doha round”. The Doha round was launched by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. The Doha round consisted of years of negations that had altruistic goals. This was in an attempt to favor favoring the poor countries in an attempt to open richer foreign markets...