Gilpin observed that the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 1, 1995 as the principal forum for trade liberalization marked the biggest reform of the international trading system since the end of the Second World War. In this paper, I will provide an analysis of the evolution of the international trading system from its inception as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to its incarnation as the World Trade Organization (WTO), taking into account the changing international economic environment and political realities.
This paper comprises of three parts. The first part outlines the historical context in the creation of GATT; the second part gives a brief synopsis of its structure and functions, with the third covering the paradigm shift in events that brought into existence the WTO intended to regulate an ever increasingly market-oriented global economy.
Established in 1944 and taking its name from the New Hampshire town where the agreements were drawn up, the Bretton Woods conference was a gathering of finance ministers from Allied countries following the end of the Second World War. Under American leadership, the group met to discuss the failings of World War Iâ€™s Treaty of Versailles and the creation of a new international monetary system which could fund post war reconstruction, economic stability and facilitate international trade. This conference led to the establishment of two of the most important post war economic institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, now known as the World Bank (An introduction to the WTO and GATT, pp. 42, 2003). Originally, the architects of the international trade system in the post war ...
...requests from other members and notify the WTO of changes to its trading policies. This clause is provided to help improve predictability and stability to the international trading system and discourage the use of quotas and other measures used to limit the quantity of imports.
Today, the WTO membership numbers 146 which comprises of approximately 97 per cent of the worldsâ€™ trade (www.WTO.org). The evolution of GATT to the WTO was a significant step towards liberalising markets and ushered in a new era of free trade. Although the WTO is still a relatively young international institution, its origins are rooted in the Bretton Woods conference following the end of World War II. The WTO has evolved to cover areas such as trade in goods and services as well as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and continues to provide the key disciplines affecting international trade.
The cause of the Spanish-American War relates directly to Cuba, and the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine. In 1895, Cuba was extremely governmentally disorganized, and was beginning to rise against Spain. The Cubanâ€™s soon adopted a conception that the more damage that they did to the Cuban mainland, the faster the Spaniards would leave Cuba, and the Americans would help the Cubans to win their independence.
The Americans soon came to Cuba, in an attempt to assist the Cubans in their fight for freedom. The Spanish intervention with Cuba threatened the trade routes that America had near, and with Cuba. By helping Cuba, America would be vastly saving itself economically because these routes were highly valuable. During this time you must remember that the United States had a new, powerful Navy, and they were anxious to show their power off to the rest of the world. Cuba served as the perfect stage to put on a show.
When Spanish General Weyler arrived, he controlled the rebellion in Cuba by herding the Cuban citizens into enclosed concentration camps. They were detained under very unsanitary and inhumane conditions. Many of them died. This treatment of the Cuban people by the Spanish angered the American public, and they demanded that war be declared against Spain. The American people were clearly disgusted by the way the Spaniards treated the Cubans. Why wouldnâ€™t they be? The Spaniards treated them like scum. They were livid; the Americans wanted the government to take action against the Spaniards for the actions they took against the Cubans.
Both Presidents Cleveland and McKinley tried to keep America out of war. In 1896, Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution that called for President Cleveland to review the impending situation in Cuba. The anti-imperialist Cleveland refused to do anything. But, on February 15, 1898, the American battleship U.S.S. Maine anchored in Havana Harbor exploded. Two hundred and sixty of the American crewmen were killed. On April 11, 1898 President McKinley went to Congress and asked for American troops to stop the war. Congress agreed and on April 25 the U. S. declared war on Spain.
In McKinleyâ€™s declaration of war against Spain, he stated "For the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the Government of Spain relinquish its authority and Government in the island of Cuba, and to withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to use the land and naval forces of the United States to carry these resolutions into effect.
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