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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It is difficult to summarize the history of the United States' relationship with the World Trade Organization. One consistent trend is the decreasing US support for the multilateral trade regime over time. The United States played an integral role in the development of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), but, by the time the Tokyo Round was concluded, multiple tensions had surfaced between US priorities and those of a multilateral trading system. The United States provided leadership and support for the GATT system for the first thirty years, but its role in the last thirty years of the regime has become more complicated and at times more contentious. The decline in US support towards the regime can be attributed to three factors: the decline in US hegemony; the role of ideas, and, particularly, the change from the free trade mentality to one that focuses more on the unfair practices of other nations; and the role of domestic interest groups, and, particularly, the increasing effectiveness of import-competing interests.

Keywords: United States, World Trade Organization, Tariffs and Trade, multilateral trade, hegemony, free trade, unfair practices, interest groups, import-competing interests

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