DP12412 | The WTO's Next Work Programme--As if the Global Economic Crisis Really Mattered

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The trade distortions implemented during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the global slump of the early 1980s influenced the subsequent evolution of the world trading system, not least because policymakers recognised the deficiencies in existing trade rules. Evidence is presented here on the incidence and trade coverage of the principal means by which governments have discriminated against foreign commercial interests since the onset of the global economic crisis. This evidence is hard to square with claims that multilateral trade rules held back protectionism. Preparing the ground to fix the flaws in current rules and in dispute settlement should be part of the WTO’s future work programme.