What is World Trade Organization (WTO)?
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. History
The WTO's predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established after World War II in the wake of other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation – notably the Bretton Woods institutions known as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A comparable international institution for trade, named the International Trade Organization was successfully negotiated. The ITO was to be a United Nations specialized agency and would address not only trade barriers but other issues indirectly related to trade, including employment, investment, restrictive business practices, and commodity agreements. But the ITO treaty was not approved by the U.S. and a few other signatories and never went into effect. In the absence of an international organization for trade, the GATT would over the years "transform itself" into a de facto international organization.
160 members since 26 June 2014, with dates of WTO membership (and pre-WTO membership dates where applicable). Click any member to see key information on trade statistics, WTO commitments, disputes, trade policy reviews, and notifications. Following Members
Pakistan (1 January 1995)
United states of America
Achievements of WTO:
In the short period, the WTO has been in existence it is being credited with the following achievements:
Greater market orientation has become the general rule;
Use of restrictive measures for BOP problems has declined markedly Services trade has been brought into the multilateral system and many countries, as in goods, are opening their markets for trade and investment either unilaterally or through regional or multilateral negotiations; Tariff-based protection has become the norm rather than the exception; Many UDCs have undertaken radical trade, exchange and domestic reforms which have improved the efficiency of resource use, opened up new investment opportunities, and, thus, promoted economic growth; The trade policy review mechanism has created a process of continuous monitoring of trade policy developments; It has been agreed to reduce import tariffs on industrial goods, based on Swiss Formula. A Swiss formula is a non-liner formula where tariff-cuts are proportionally higher for tariffs, which are initially higher. For instance, a country, which has an initial tariff of 30 per cent on a product, will have to undertake proportionally higher cuts than a country which has an initial tariff of 20 per cent on the same product. Criticism
Martin Khor argues that the WTO does not manage the global economy impartially, but in its operation has a systematic bias toward rich countries and multinational corporations, harming smaller countries which have less negotiation power. Some suggested examples of this bias are: Rich countries are able to maintain high import duties and quotas in certain products, blocking imports from developing countries (e.g. clothing); The increase in non-tariff barriers such as anti-dumping measures allowed against developing countries; The maintenance of high protection of agriculture in developed countries while developing ones are pressed to open their markets; Many developing countries do not have the capacity to follow the negotiations and participate actively in the Uruguay Round Some Other Reasons
The WTO Is...
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