Dec 16, 2018

Myth 4: The WTO Is a Terrible Institution That Doesn’t Serve the Interests of the US

12 Days of Christmas Trade Myths
Christine McDaniel Senior Research Fellow , Veronique de Rugy George Gibbs Chair in Political Economy

This is the fourth in a holiday-themed series aimed at correcting common misconceptions about trade. Each day until Christmas, economists Christine McDaniel and Veronique de Rugy will address a new claim about trade or tariffs while providing additional resources for those interested in learning more about the topic.

Myth: The WTO Is a Terrible Institution That Doesn’t Serve the Interests of the US

Not everyone is as lucky as Santa and able to age without a wrinkle. The WTO has been around for about two decades, and it needs some tightening here and there to make it good as new. As a dispute-settlement mechanism, though, it has served us remarkably well. America has won roughly 87 percent of its cases before the WTO, and when the US has filed complaints against China, the institution has not only sided with us in a vast majority of cases, but China has done a reasonably good job of complying with WTO complaints brought against it. The same can’t be said of us. When found guilty of bad behavior, we, Grinch-like, don’t always comply. 

Suggested Resources

  1. "Trump Wrong about WTO Record," by Robert Farley
  2. By the numbers: Here’s how ‘badly’ the WTO treats the US," by Henrietta Reily
  3. "Disciplining China at the WTO," by Simon Lester and Zuan Zhu 

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