The Future of the World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in the midst of a series of crises: its dispute system is struggling to function; its director‐​general stepped down early; a U.S. senator is publicly advocating for it to be “abolished”; and it has been decades since a major new round of liberalization has been completed. On the other hand, its regular work of monitoring and discussing governments’ trade policies is continuing; governments are finding workarounds for the dispute process; and there have been low‐​profile deals struck in a number of policy areas. Are the straits as dire for the WTO as they sometimes seem, or is it simply in need of minor tweaks and new global leadership? What does the future hold for the WTO?