Working Paper BETA #2009-32

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Title : The intellectual origins of WTO : Hull’s and Bidwell’s views on organizing the international trade.

Author(s) : Claude SCHWOB

Abstract : Unlike the monetary and financial international organizations which where born during World War II and in the immediate post-war years, the WTO was created only in 1994. The GATT negotiated in 1947 was initially conceived as a temporary agreement while waiting for the creation of an International Trade Organization, which was finally never created. Nevertheless as like as in financial matters, some thinkers have built projects on such an organization before and during World War II. Among them there are two Americans: Cordell Hull and Percy Wells Bidwell. This paper compares both projects and investigates whether it can be said that Hull was the spiritual father of the WTO as some of the Cordell Hull Institute papers claim it.

Key-words : Theory of International Organizations, Bilateralism, Multilateralism, History of International Organizations, International Trade Negotiations, International Trade Organization, World Trade Organization.

JEL Classification : B10, B20, F02, F13, F53.