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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The International Trade Organization (ITO) – an intellectual precursor of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – never existed. During and after World War II, extensive efforts were made to bring it into being, culminating in the multilateral negotiation of a charter for the organization at Havana in 1947–1948. However, the Havana Charter was never ratified, mainly because domestic opposition within the United States led the Truman administration to drop its efforts to win congressional backing for the ITO by the end of 1950. Although the attempt to create the ITO failed, it was nonetheless significant for two reasons. First, the effort to establish the ITO brought the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade into being, and this in turn had consequences for the eventual creation of the WTO. Second, the idea of the ITO marks an important staging post in the shift between two contrasting types of trade liberalism: moral internationalism and institutional internationalism. This article analyses the unsuccessful attempt to create the ITO and traces the negotiation processes that contributed to this failure.

Keywords: International Trade Organization, World Trade Organization, negotiation, Tariffs and Trade, trade liberalism, moral internationalism, institutional internationalism

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