Free trade has lifted mankind to a level of wealth that was recently unimaginable. In 1990, 38 percent of human beings lived in extreme poverty; today, that figure has fallen to 8 per cent, as previously closed African and Asian economies have joined the global market.

Yet, paradoxically, free trade has never been so out of fashion. Across the world, idealistic people march against trade deals, protest G20 summits, occupy stock exchanges, sincerely believing that, in doing so, they are standing up for the poor against multinational corporations – when, in reality, they are doing the opposite.

Politicians naturally respond to public opinion. We are witnessing a trade war between the world’s largest and second-largest economies. The Uruguay Round, concluded in 1994, was the last successful comprehensive multilateral trade negotiation. Until CPTPP, the last major regional trade deals were ASEAN and NAFTA, agreed in the early 1990s.

We need to recapture the moral case for open commerce. Free trade is not simply a way to buy cheaper iPhones. It is the ultimate instrument of poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and social justice.





Cato Daily Podcast

@CatoPodcast 3 days ago

Among the challenges that might face a Biden Administration, restoring trading relationships should probably be hig… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Petina Gappah

@VascoDaGappah 3 days ago

Kenyan and Nigerian candidates lead field for WTO chief ft.com/content/c8ed0a…

Julian Braithwaite

@JulianWTO_UN 3 days ago

Ahead of this evening’s deadline, I have formally submitted the UK’s nomination of Dr Liam Fox for the position of… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Dr Liam Fox MP #StayAlert

@LiamFox 3 days ago

I am honoured to have been nominated by @BorisJohnson to be a candidate to lead the @wto . I believe that if we wan… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

David Kleimann

@DavidKleimann 4 days ago

Biden comes out with a supply chain 'plan'. Highly protectionist, by the sounds of it. Doesn't mention WTO once. Mu… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

R Meléndez-Ortiz

@RMelendezOrtiz 4 days ago

1/3 Further to my tweet in June, I'm pleased to confirm that all issues of @ICTSD periodicals (Bridges monthly;… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…