By Dave Hendrick
The Case Centre named Debaere’s “Trump Says the WTO is a Disaster” the best case in the economics, politics and business environment category as part of the 30th annual Case Centre Awards and Competitions.
Debaere, a professor in the Global Economies and Markets area at Darden, explores President Donald Trump’s well-documented skepticism of global trade and criticism of the World Trade Organization in favor of bilateral trade agreements — as well as the implications of his sentiments for the future of global trade policy.
Is the WTO actually a disaster, the case asks, or an important tool for commercial rulemaking and adjudication?
“Like no other president before him, Donald Trump has used trade policy to engage other countries,” Debaere said regarding the interest in his case. “Just think about the trade war with China, the renegotiation of NAFTA, the tension over trade with Europe. There is a strong urge in students to discuss and try to make sense of this fairly unusual approach.”
Debaere teaches the case in the Darden First Year elective “Managing International Trade and Investment.”
Following the announcement of the award, Debaere said a good case is one that makes a broader point via specific circumstances and details, which he saw in the WTO matter.
“It took me a while to figure out that the theory of [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade]/WTO was a good way to approach what we experience in the international arena,” said Debaere. “It is the case that the United States is a big player and has leverage. We, however, live in a multilateral world in which unilateral actions by a big player tend to be ineffective, especially in the long run, as counties can retaliate or decide no longer to cooperate. It is exactly with such a world in mind that the WTO and the GATT were designed.”
The awards are based on data regarding actual case usage, providing what the organization says is a snapshot of the topics being used to teach.
About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.