Poverty Alleviation, Economic Development and the World Trade Organization

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Poverty Alleviation, Economic Development and the World Trade Organization

According to U nited Nations Conference on Trade and Development(2004), international trade can play a positive and important role in reducing poverty in developing countires.Therefore, poverty alleviation has strong correlation with economic development and international trade.Even though other political, social and cultural problems arethe causes of poverty, it is believed that the various causes are so complicated that no simple soultion is universially applicable.Also, although there were many strategies and international aid for developing countries, the majority of countries thar were underdeveloped fifty years ago still remain poor. (Lee,2006) Thus, Lee(2006) mentioned that “the only lasting solution to the current poverty problem is facilitating economic development to create sustainable economies in poor nations.”The economic develoipment can provide developing countries eith adequate resources and sustain their living condition and decrease poverty. Therefore, the World Trade Organization International trade has become an important vehicle for successful economic development and poverty alleviation. But unfortunately, the current WTO system cannot do much to facilitate the economic development of those developing countires. Compare with the deceloping countries, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2008) concluded that “the developed countries continued to dominate gloabl economic activity and accounted for 71 % of global Grass Domestic Product in 2007 even though they only had 15 % of the world's population.” Therefore, in the first part, the causes of poverty will be identified.But the essay will mainly focus on the causes created by the current weaknesses of WTO system.In the second part, in terms of the decision making structure, resources and rules, several changes in WTO will be suggested to facilitate the economic development of developing countries and poverty alleviation. In the third part, the essay will suggest that to a certain, this reform in WTO is the right one to tackle the problem politically and technically but some obstacles will be met.Until the WTO priorities change to become part of aworld-wide programme to improve sustainable development and contribute to the eradication of poverty, the poor situation in developing countries will be long-lasting.

The causes of the problem related to the current weaknessed of WTO system There are lack of transparency and diverse participation in the decision making process within the WTO which makes it possible for a few rich countries to dominate the trade agenda at the expense of the developing countires. Jawara and Kwa (2003) stated that the decision making process is “ game for high stakes, between unequally matched teams, where much of the game is played with few rules and no referee.”It exposes how pyramidal bargaining works and the decisionmaking processes are still dominated by its richest members. Gathii (2003) further suggested that “decisions on important issues are made without broad-based consultation with the entire WTO membership and the domestic constituencies of member countries.” The views of other WTO members are undermined.Also, the develped countries such as EU, the United States and Japan got sufficient human and financial resources to deal with complex WTO affairs. But on the other hand, the developing countries are not fully represented and participated in the complex WTO affairs due to lackof human and financial resources. Obviously, the whole decsion making process and the agenda setting are dominated by the developed countries to achieve their own economic interests and ignored the economic development of those developing countires. Gattii(2003) further suggested that “the trade agenda continues to expand into areas inwhich developed countries have a comparative advantage while leaving unaddressed outstanding issues within existing...
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