LIKE the showman he sometimes was, Peter Sutherland, on December 15th 1993, concluded seven years of torturous trade negotiations by banging a gavel. He received a standing ovation. Mr Sutherland, who died on January 7th, had an indispensable role in dragging the “Uruguay round” of trade talks to agreement. He did not know that this was to be the last such comprehensive, multilateral trade deal of his lifetime.
As director-general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and, on its founding, of the World Trade Organisation, the Irishman was the public face of bodies helping to integrate the global economy. The sobriquet “father of globalisation” was, at the time, a compliment. He remained proud of the WTO. In 2004 he wrote that “for the first time in history, the world can embrace a rules-based system for economic coexistence.”