The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) have played an important role in creating a predictable framework for companies conducting business internationally. Business leaders continue to express support for the institution in surveys but, privately, trade policymakers and opinion leaders in Geneva have questioned the commitment of business leaders to engage in the work of the WTO. As the institution faces its latest crisis, it is natural for the WTO’s supporters to turn to the business community for help – in making the economic case to policy makers for the rules‐based trading system, in encouraging governments to resolve their differences and make progress on key issues that threaten the system, and in identifying issues and opportunities where the WTO can serve as a forum to support trade‐related economic growth. The time and effort that businesses invest in this work depends, in part, on how they perceive the institution and, at the end of the day, how much they feel they are getting out of it. This paper therefore poses the question of whether the WTO is ‘in sync’ with the business community.
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