The WTO (World Trade Organisation) is an international body dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. The function of the WTO is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible. The WTO members now account for over 97% of the international trade indicating that there is no other international organisation whose policies and actions have as wide an economic and social ramification and impact as the WTO. Decisions in the WTO are made by consensus. The WTO agreements are negotiated by all members, are approved by consensus and are approved in all members’ parliaments. The agreements apply to everyone.
Some, especially multinational corporations, believe that the WTO is great for business. Rich and poor countries alike are said to have an equal right to challenge each other in the WTO’s dispute settlement procedures. a lot of international trade tension is reduced because countries can turn to the WTO to settle their trade disputes. When they bring disputes to the WTO, the WTO’s procedure focuses their attention on the single set of rules that all members of the WTO must adhere to. Those rules include an obligation for members to bring their disputes to the WTO and not to act unilaterally. Around 300 disputes have been brought to the WTO since it was set up in 1995. Without the uniform rules some could have led to more serious political conflict. The rules also allow smaller countries to enjoy some increased bargaining power due to the level trading ground. The fact that there is a single set of rules applying to all members standardizes the entire trade operation, making the WTO fair for all members. Protectionism is the shielding of a country’s’ domestic industries from foreign competition by taxing imports. The WTO promotes free trade by removing tariffs, reducing tax on imports and generally lowering trading barriers. The result is reduced costs of production (because imports used in