Power and the Governance of Global Trade

Power and the Governance of Global Trade: From the GATT to the WTO

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Power and the Governance of Global Trade
    Book Description:

    In Power and the Governance of Global Trade, Soo Yeon Kim analyzes the design, evolution, and economic impact of the global trade regime, focusing on the power politics that prevailed in the regime and shaped its distributive impact on global trade. Using documents now available from the archives of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), Kim examines the institutional origins and critical turning points in the evolution of the GATT, as well as preferences of the lesser powers of the developing world that were the subject of heated debate over the International Trade Organization (ITO), which failed to materialize.

    Using quantitative analysis, Kim assesses the impact of the global trade regime on international trade and finds that the rules of trade forged by the great powers resulted in a developmental divide, in which industrialized countries benefited from trade expansion but developing countries reaped far fewer gains. The findings indicate that a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is urgently needed to mitigate the developmental divide by increasing trade between the industrialized and developing worlds.

    Kim offers a timely reading of the GATT/WTO system as a way to think about how trade and globalization more broadly may be governed in this post-Cold War century, as the global economy contends with a new geopolitical configuration featuring rising powers from the developing world. Important trading nations such as China, India, and other emergent actors in the G-20 countries, Kim argues, reflect the new power politics that will shape the course of global trade governance in the years to come.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6000-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    The “Battle of Seattle,” now familiar to many, marked an inauspicious beginning in the efforts of the World Trade Organization to launch its first round of trade talks. To protest against an organization which had before then garnered little public attention, nearly fifty thousand activists descended on the city of Seattle in November 1999, at the site of the WTO’s Ministerial Meeting, where member countries’ trade negotiators had congregated for four days in the hopes of coming to agreement on an agenda.¹ The magnitude and intensity of the protests effectively shut down the city: a state of “civil emergency” was...

  5. PART I Rules

    • 1 Who Designs? Power and the Design of the General Agreement
      (pp. 23-54)

      Why does global trade governance today look the way it does? The rules of trade embodied in the GATT and the WTO can be traced back to the institutional arrangements installed in 1947, when representatives from the various nations gathered to negotiate the first round of tariff reductions for the post–World War II era.¹ In doing so, the twenty-three countries, or “Contracting Parties,” established a set of practices for managing international trade that have exhibited remarkable persistence over the years. By the time the Truman administration withdrew, in December 1950, the International Trade Organization (ITO) charter for consideration and...

    • 2 Critical Moments and Institutional Resilience
      (pp. 55-84)

      The rules of the global trading system that originated in the General Agreement of 1947 evolved over eight rounds of trade negotiations spanning almost half a century until the establishment of the WTO. The regime followed a historical trajectory that is markedly resilient, such that even the shift from the GATT to the WTO is notable more for continuity rather than change in the trade regime (Barton, Goldstein, Josling, and Steinberg 2006). As the first agreement among its participants, the institutional arrangements produced by the General Agreement of 1947 embodied “early outcomes” that generated positive feedback processes in the GATT’s...

  6. PART II Consequences

    • 3 Power and Politics in the GATT: The Effects on Trade, 1950–1994 (with Joanne Gowa)
      (pp. 87-110)

      The GATT yielded a definite and significant “distributive divide” that divided the regime’s participants into “winners” and “losers.” The General Agreement set precedents on what kind of trade should be governed by the multilateral trade regime, and it also determined how trade should be governed. Though these rules of trade governance provided an important and effective means to manage the global trading system in the post–World War II period, not all members benefited from them; some did, others did not.

      The next two chapters, comprising the second part of this study, on “Consequences,” are devoted to assessing the distributive...

    • 4 A Matter of Timing: WTO Accession and International Trade
      (pp. 111-142)

      The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995, following the Uruguay Round of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). As the “first construct in a new post–Cold War architecture of international cooperation” (Ostry 1997, 238), the WTO’s “clear” legal status and mandate was regarded as “the crossing of an important threshold in international trade relations” (Gallagher 2005, 2). The WTO renewed and incorporated the GATT of 1994 but is in itself a new legal entity. Unlike the GATT, which was “provisional,” the WTO is a formal intergovernmental agreement with the status of an international...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 143-154)

    As of this writing, we remain in the era of the “Doha Deadlock,” with the fate of the Doha Round of trade negotiations under the WTO uncertain, if not dire. In July 2008, trade talks collapsed once again at the end of an intense nine-day meeting of the 153-member global trade governance body. The latest breakdown in the Doha Round negotiations follows a similar breakdown in talks two years earlier, in July 2006, when another “time out” was called, this time by Pascal Lamy, director-general of the WTO. In the July 2008 talks, aside from the usual tussle over tariff...

  8. Methodological Appendix
    (pp. 155-164)
  9. References
    (pp. 165-176)
  10. Index
    (pp. 177-182)