In the past two decades there has been a proliferation of associations and organizations in order to implement the interests of both private persons and governments at the bilateral, regional and global level in the course of the trade liberalization. The following essay will compare the power and influence of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develpment (OECD), with regard to their member states, as well as their importance in the global trading system on the background of their institutional structure.
The forerunner of the OECD, the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), was established in Paris in 1949 in order to develop and implement a shared concept for European economic reconstruction and cooperation. The primary aim of this organization was to involve European countries in the decision-making process for the disbursment of monies from the European Recovery Program, also known as the Marshall-Plan. In September of 1961 the OEEC carried over to the OECD with 20 member states including Japan, Canada and the United States. Since then, the number of members has increased up to 30 countries worldwide. The membership stands open to any country that pursues an open market, a representative democracy and respects human rights1. The main aims of the OECD are: to advance an optimal economic development program, to support developing member and non-member countries and to enlarge the global trade in line with international responsibility based on a multilateral and non-discriminatory level.
The establishment of the WTO happened nearly three decades later in 1994. Similar to OEEC, the GATT (General Agreement on Tarifs and Trade) functioned as a predecessor that carried over to the WTO as an umbrella treaty for trade in goods. Similar to the OECD, the WTO pursuses liberalization of global trade, however the methods differThe WTO governs international trade similar to a supranational cut-through, by contrast, the OECD functions without suprantaional authorities as an intergovernmental forum; where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice, and co-ordinate domestic and international policies.
To get a general idea about the effects on the national and global economic policies, it is necessary to cater to their formal structure. Both organizations are structured according to international law with their own volition, and thus carry rights and duties, which are fulfilled by their bodies. The topmost decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which meets at least every two years. Ministers of economic and trade affairs of each member country decide on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements by consensus. The highest level, in Geneva, is the General Council, which meet regularly by ambassadors of the member states to carry out the functions of the WTO. Included in the General Council are three Councils for trade work, which are responsible for the adherence and effectiveness of the three WTO agreements, being; the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATTs), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATs) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Further more there are subsidary Bodies under each of the three bodies and other committees. At this juncture it is important to mention that the WTO’s membership consists of approximately 2/3 of developing countries. And in reality WTO negotiations proceed not by consensus of all members, but by a process of informal negotiations between small groups of countries, in the so-called Green Rooms or Mini-Ministerials negotiations. The fact that developing countries cannot afford the delegation of representatives to every
meeting and therefore are often excluded from the negotiations, arouses the suspicion of policy making through power-based bargaining...
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