In 2017, it was a challenge to assess the future of global trade. It was an open question whether the U.S. financial crisis and the recession that it triggered would mark a turning point for the liberal post-World War II world order. If one looked toward Europe, China, Latin America, and Japan, there was a flurry of activity. New trade agreements were being completed and pursued. In Washington, DC, on the other hand, President Donald Trump seemed set on ripping apart and/or renegotiating any trade deal the United States was ever part of.
This case explores Trump's opinions and emerging policy stance on trade, bilateralism, and the global economy, among others. It also gives an overview of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and asks the question of whether the Trump presidency would constitute a major challenge to the WTO and what it stood for in 2017.