WTO is an international body founded in 1995 to encourage international trade and economic development by reducing tariffs and other restrictions.This organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries; it provides an outline for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements, and a dispute resolution process. WTO's current Director-General is Pascal Lamy, who leads a staff of over 600 people in Geneva, Switzerland. Agreements:
The WTO oversees about 60 different agreements which have the status of international legal texts. Member countries must sign and approve all WTO agreements on there consent. A discussion of some of the most important agreements takes place. The Agreement on Agriculture(AoA) came into being with the founding of the WTO in 1995. The AoA has three main concepts:
* domestic support,(the boxes)
* market access ,
* export subsidies.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services was created to extend the multilateral trading system to service sector, in the same way as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provided a system for merchandise trade. The agreement entered into force in January 1995. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights puts down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. Domestic support: the boxes
The first pillar of the AoA is "domestic support". The WTO Agreement on Agriculture negotiated in the Uruguay Round (1986–1994) includes the classification of subsidies into ‘boxes’ depending on their effects on production and trade: * amber (most directly linked to production levels)
* blue (production-limiting programmes that still distort trade), * green (causing not more than minimal distortion of trade or production). While payments in the amber box had to be reduced,
Those in the green box were exempt from reduction commitments. However, all must comply with the ‘fundamental requirement’ to cause not more than minimal distortion of trade or production, and must be provided through a government-funded programme that does not involve transfers from consumers or price support to producers. The AoA's domestic support system currently allows Europe and the USA to spend $380 billion every year on agricultural subsidies alone. "It is often still argued that subsidies are needed to protect small farmers but, according to the World Bank, more than half of EU support goes to 1% of producers while in the US 70% of subsidies go to 10% of producers, mainly agri-businesses." . The effect of these subsidies is to flood global markets with below-cost commodities, depressing prices and undercutting producers in poor countries – a practice known as dumping. The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures known as the SPS Agreement was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of GATT, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995. Under the SPS agreement, the WTO sets constraints on members' policies relating to food safety (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling) as well as animal and plant health (imported pests and diseases) The Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) are rules that apply to the domestic rules a country applies to foreign investors as part of an industrial policy. The agreement was agreed upon by all members of the World Trade Organizati. Trade Related Investment Measures is the name of one of the four principal legal agreements of the WTO trade treaty.TRIMs are rules that restrict preference of domestic firms and thereby enable international firms to operate more easily within foreign markets. In the late 1980s, there was a major increase in foreign direct investment throughout the world. However, some of the...