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Power and the Governance of Global Trade

From the GATT to the WTO

Soo Yeon Kim

Publication Year: 2010

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.

Published by: Cornell University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

...As I look back on the journey of this project and the many people who have made this book possible, I am grateful first and foremost to Joanne Gowa, who as mentor and friend has been the most influential figure in the development of this book and in my intellectual development since completing my doctorate. Our paper on the distributive consequences of...

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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 fi rst round of trade talks. To protest against an organization which had before then garnered little public attention, nearly fi fty thousand activists descended...


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pp. 21-22

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1. Who Designs? Powerand the Design of the General Agreement

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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 fi rst round of tariff reductions for the post– World War II era...

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2. Critical Moments and Institutional Resilience

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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...


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pp. 85-86

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3. Power and Politics in the GATT

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pp. 87-110

...The GATT yielded a defi nite and signifi cant “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...

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4. A Matter of Timing

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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...

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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...

Methodological Appendix

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pp. 155-164


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pp. 165-176


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pp. 177-182

E-ISBN-13: 9780801460005
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801448867

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1