Fixing up the World: GATT and the World Trade Organization

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. Published in Labour Focus on Eastern Europe , Number 59, 1998. pp 74-93. ISSN 0141-7746. Other versions (and variants) are ‘‘The New World Order: GATT and the World Trade Organisation’ in Hutchinson, F.(1998) What everybody really wants to know about money. pp113-131. Charlbury: Carpenter. ISBN 1 89766 33 5.; Die Neuordning des Weltmarktes: GATT und die Welthandelsorganisation’, Utopie kreativ, Mai-Juni 1998. pp49-58. ISSN 0863-4890;I GATT kai o Pagkosmios Organismos Emporiou h pws «taktopoieitai» o kosmos’ in Thesis, October-December 1998. pp45-57. ISSN 1106-2142