The creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994 set the stage for an international trading system that promotes fair commercial relations, stimulates economic growth, and supports sustainable development. With the adoption of the historic Marrakech Agreement at the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, developing and developed countries joined together in a shared commitment to an equitable world, where resources are used efficiently and all people can benefit from greater economic growth. The result of years of negotiation, the WTO now provides a transparent rules-based system and formal mechanism for the settlement of disputes. The WTO continues to reduce obstacles to trade and offers a level playing field for all Members, irrespective of their level of economic development.

This documentary project began as an effort to capture the exceptional contribution of one individual, Ambassador Trân Van Thinh Paul, who played an instrumental role in the Uruguay Round negotiations. The project has now grown into a collection of interviews from nearly 40 ministers, ambassadors, chief negotiators, and other key figures. With recollections that span the 1982 – 1994 period, this project tells the story of the WTO in the words of the men and women who created it.

The interviews offer insights into a variety of issues and topics: from the importance of the historic “green room” meetings, to the struggle to achieve real progress in the negotiations on agriculture, to the realization of new institutional architecture. Most importantly, these interviews capture the true spirit of the Uruguay Round negotiations, and provide an invaluable resource for WTO Members, academics and students as well as the economic actors of today and tomorrow.

Videos are presented in chronological order. The interviews on this site were made in January 2009 and enter December 2011.