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Fixing up the world: GATT and the WTO

Freeman, Alan (1998): Fixing up the world: GATT and the WTO. Published in: Labour Focus on Eastern Europe No. Number 59, 1998 (July 1998): pp. 74-93.

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This paper, published in Labour Focus on Eastern Europe , Number 59, 1998. pp 74-93 and reproduced in a number of journals and books, examines the consequences for world trade of the restructuring – commonly termed ‘globalisation’ that arose out of the Uruguay round of the GATT and let to the reconstruction of the World Trade Organisation in its present form, beginning in 1982.

It establishes that the widely-held view of the system of world trade as a symmetric free trade system is largely mythical. It shows, on the basis of a study of the outcome of disputes within the GATT over the critical period in which the present world trading system was founded, that decisive non-market advantages were established by dominant continental trading blocs organised around NAFTA, the EEC and APEC, which as Stiglitz at the time explained, ‘tilted the playing field’ systematically in favour of these blocs.

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