The increasingly tense interplay between trade and politics should not blind us to the fact that the postwar liberalization of trade worldwide has been a resounding success and remains one of globalism’s most significant achievements, if not the most important achievement, period. This opening up did not happen spontaneously in an institutional vacuum. Instead, the current degree of economic openness and the resulting prosperity are results of a combination of multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and later the World Trade Organization (WTO), underwritten largely by the United States, as well as a variety of regional initiatives.
Trade is indispensable to fostering greater levels of global economic development. As the OECD has written, “No country has lifted itself out of poverty without international trade.” This category consolidates GTIPA-member reports assessing the intersection of trade and economic development.