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Fifty years ago, the victorious western Allies sought to establish multilateral international institutions to address root causes of the Second World War and of the Great Depression that had preceded it. To this end, they conceived of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the International Trade Organization (ITO). These institutions were to administer, respectively, international political, financial, and trade relations. Unlike the United Nations and IMF, however, the ITO never materialized because postwar governments, including the United States, did not ratify its founding instrument. Consequently, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which those governments intended to be an interim arrangement under the administration of the ITO, still governs much of international trade relations.

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