The World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of the most important international organizations in existence today. It contains a set of disciplines that affect the ability of governments to impose trade restrictions, and has helped to support the steady expansion of international trade since the 1950s. It is a unique organization in providing a framework for member states to make binding policy commitments that are enforced through a unique dispute settlement system and a variety of transparency mechanisms. Despite -- or because of -- its success, the WTO has recently become the focus of vociferous protests by anti-globalization activists. This book separates the facts from the propaganda and provides an accessible overview of the WTO's history, structure and policies as well as a discussion of the future of the organization. It also confronts the criticisms of the WTO and assesses their validity.
Bernard M. Hoekman is Research Manager of the International Trade team in the Development Research Group of the World Bank, Washington, DC. Petros C. Mavroidis is Edwin B. Parker Professor of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University, USA and Professor of Law at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland.