The Effects of the Wto on International Trade

Topics: World Trade Organization, International trade, Free trade Pages: 9 (2421 words) Published: April 27, 2012
1. Introduction
As one of the world-wide international organizations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has played a crucial role to ensure trade open between the members and has produced benefits for them since its inception. This essay will focus on appraising the impactions of WTO on facilitating international trade over the last fifteen years. Firstly, an overall description of the WTO will be provided; then it is going to show a multiple evaluation of the WTO’s performances; lastly, it will conclude with the precious information and make a summary.

2. Introduction of the WTO

2.1 The overview of the WTO and its functions
The WTO begins with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and applies some of its basic principles such as non-discrimination for negotiation and decision-making. However, the 1947 GATT produced only a weak global trading framework, the WTO which formed in 1995 created strong legal orientation for trade liberalization. The WTO agreements cover goods, services and intellectual property, rather than the GATT only concentrates on merchandise. And some principles has been produced for service these wide ranges of agreements, the principles formed the basic multilateral trading system. Moreover, the WTO is designed for its member nations to negotiate trade agreements and organizes a Dispute Settlement Body to oversee procedure for specific trade disputes between countries. The WTO also creates principles for promoting the development of multilateral trading. For insistence, the principles of non-discrimination, lower trade barriers, transparent and competitive policies are beneficial for the multilateral trading system.

Inevitably, the WTO performs a variety of functions which include managing WTO trade agreements, organizing trade negotiations, supervising state trade policies, technical assistance for low developing countries and dispute settlement, etc.

2.2 The Ministerial Conferences and decisions
The ministerial Conference is the top decision-making institutions in the WTO. The Seattle meeting in 1999 was intended to initiate a new trade liberalization round and aimed to services and agriculture. In this meeting, industrialized countries had an argument with developing countries on core labour standards and environmental policy. The intension occasion caused the failure of the conference.

A new round of multilateral trade negotiations was hold in Doha in 2001. It added the issues of labour standards, environmental protection and competition policy in this conference. The Doha Round took more focuses on developing countries and made them more forcefully. It was included proposals for reducing tariffs and adjusting subsidies.

The Doha Round put the issues of labour standards and the environment for future consideration. From there, the awareness of environment protection and humanitarian has emphasized by governments and firms. Furthermore, this issue became a critical controversy in the WTO affaires during this long term. Whether these issues should be put in the trade policy has been in dispute. For example, those in favour of trade liberalization believe these issues should be separated from trade even though they are important. On the other side, environmentalists and commercial organizations argue for the inclusion of environment protection cover about global warming limitation and labour standards in trade policy. Fortunately, the labour standards including child labour have put in human rights principles gradually. (Morrison, 2006, pp. 332-335)

3. The overall performances of the WTO on global trade

3.1The WTO’s failures
One of the biggest shortages of the WTO is its real problems in its Decision-Making. The WTO’s decision-making has developed of informal discussion in smaller groups. Some of the meetings only refer to small group of the main members in the now notorious ‘Green Room’; others are the regional groupings. So its...
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