China Global Trade - Is the World Trade Organization to Blame for Rising Protectionism? New Report Explores if the WTO Trade System is Broken and How to Fix It.

Has the World Trade Organization WTO failed to ensure a level playing field for global traders? If so, is it then responsible for escalating protectionism?’s latest report “Is the World Trade Organization Responsible for Protectionism?” analyzes the state of the WTO trade system and the role of the World Trade Organization in that system.

Phoenix, AZ, December 24, 2012 --( Based on insights of 13 noted experts and hundreds of publications, the report explores the idea that if the World Trade Organization WTO is responsible for ensuring a level playing field for global traders, and if the global trading system is broken because the playing field is not level, and if global traders respond to an imbalanced field and ineffective referee with domestic protectionism, then the World Trade Organization is theoretically responsible for protectionism.

Highly regarded WTO trade experts featured include Peter D. Sutherland, former Director General of the GATT; Patrick Mulloy, former Commissioner on the US-China Economic & Security Review Commission; Norman R. Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of the Lockheed Martin Corporation; and Clyde Prestowitz, President of the Economic Strategy Institute.

Those interviews, in audio or video format, along with all of the tables, figures, and other content in the WTO trade report, are free for journalists, bloggers, researchers, and others to use under the Creative Commons license. The report is available in various formats at

Is the global trading system broken? Why?
Experts featured in the report find evidence that the global trading system is broken. Significant and growing trade imbalances and rising protectionism lead experts to conclude that WTO trade, as it is playing out, is not mutually beneficial. What has led to a broken global trading system in those ways? A number of experts say that imbalanced foreign direct investment flows are one significant cause of the breakdown in the global trading system.

What is the role of the World Trade Organization?
According to the report, the role of the World Trade Organization WTO is as “the international organization whose primary purpose is to open trade for the benefit of all.” Yet, Rob Atkinson, President of the Information Technology Innovation Foundation, said: “The World Trade Organization can’t work to fully implement its promises; it works at suboptimal level and allows only certain disputes to be resolved. That’s not to say that it’s completely ineffective, but it cannot achieve its promise.”

Across the diverse expert views represented, the report suggests that the World Trade Organization WTO has not fulfilled its mission of leveling the WTO trade playing field for three reasons: the World Trade Organization doesn’t deal with the most fundamental source of imbalance, foreign direct investment (FDI); the “players” of the field aren’t playing the same game; and the multinational corporations that wield tremendous influence over policymakers favor the status quo.

Peter D. Sutherland, S.C., K.C.M.G., Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs International, former Director General of the GATT, says in the report, “I’m deeply disappointed with where we are and I blame the big traders, China and the U.S. in particular, for not pushing the multinational system forward. And a price will be paid for this; it’s already beginning to be imminent in terms of protectionism.”

How can the global WTO trade system be fixed?
The report notes the overwhelming consensus among the experts interviewed is that WTO trade can be mutually beneficial with the right framework in place to do, in essence, what the World Trade Organization WTO claims as its mission: ensure a level playing field. Across the experts interviewed, five ideas emerged for ways to fix the global trading system.

Those five ideas include establishing multilateral trade agreements that address FDI; building multilateral WTO trade frameworks that focus on outcomes rather than rules; multinational corporations could form a coalition to insist on fair treatment in emerging markets; policymakers must demonstrate real leadership; and policies must align what’s good for MNCs with what’s good for their home countries.

“In the end,” suggests the WTO trade report, “it will depend on an effective mutually beneficial multilateral trade system and on the will of policymakers to make change happen.”

About is an initiative of The Kearny Alliance, a US nonprofit 501 (c) (3) foundation. The Kearny Alliance partners with other international organizations to further its mission of ‘Aid through Trade’, to advance international development and poverty alleviation through trade-related business, education, training and applied research.
Molly Castelazo