The GATT/WTO has played a central role in coordinating trade policy across countries via multilateral trade negotiations since WWII. Since 1947, the GATT/WTO has also grown in its membership from a small set of 23 (mainly developed) countries to a roster that now includes more than 150 countries. Not only have tariffs been lowered substantially from their historical high (witnessed during the Great Depression), but nontariff barriers have also become increasingly regulated under the GATT/WTO.
Meanwhile, global trade flows have increased exponentially at a rate above the growth rate of merchandise output. Yet, we are seeing rising sentiment against globalization and an impasse in multilateral trade talks. It is thus extremely important to provide a historical assessment of what the GATT/WTO has imparted to the world economy.
Faculty profile: https://economics.smu.edu.sg/faculty/profile/9681/CHANG-Pao-Li
In this video, Professor Chang Pao Li shares her insights of her research suggesting large GATT/WTO trade-promoting effects that are robust among members and non-members with positive trade flows in spite of interruptions by a few major negative shocks, such as the 2009 financial crisis. In addition, the system is found to have reduced income disparity across countries, thus the GATT/WTO has improved the global welfare in a progressive way.