The World Trade Organization WTO is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
The result is assurance. Consumers and producers know that they can enjoy secure supplies and greater choice of the finished products, components, raw materials and services that they use. Producers and exporters know that foreign markets will remain open to them. The result is also a more prosperous, peaceful and accountable economic world. That way, the risk of disputes spilling over into political or military conflict is reduced. These agreements are the legal ground-rules for international commerce.
Essentially, they are contracts, guaranteeing member countries important trade rights. The agreements were negotiated and signed by governments. But their purpose is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.
The World Trade Organization came into being in In , new talks started on agriculture and services. The work programme , the Doha Development Agenda DDA , adds negotiations and other work on non-agricultural tariffs, trade and environment, WTO rules such as anti-dumping and subsidies, investment, competition policy, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, intellectual property, and a range of issues raised by developing countries as difficulties they face in implementing the present WTO agreements.
It does this by: Administering trade agreements Acting as a forum for trade negotiations Settling trade disputes Reviewing national trade policies Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through technical assistance and training programmes Cooperating with other international organizations.
Around 30 others are negotiating membership. Decisions are made by the entire membership. This is typically by consensus.
Numerous specialized committees, working groups and working parties deal with the individual agreements and other areas such as the environment, development, membership applications and regional trade agreements. Its annual budget is roughly million Swiss francs. It does not have branch offices outside Geneva. Since decisions are taken by the members themselves, the Secretariat does not have the decision-making role that other inter-Secretariat, Genevanational bureaucracies are given.
The WTO agreements How can you ensure that trade is as fair as possible, and as free as is practical? By negotiating rules and abiding by them. Click here to read more about the WTO agreements. From the money in our pockets and the goods and services that we use, to a more peaceful world — the WTO and the trading system offer a range of benefits, some well-known, others not so obvious. The system helps promote peace 2. Disputes are handled constructively 3. Rules make life easier for all 4.
Freer trade cuts the costs of living 5. It provides more choice of products and qualities 6. Trade raises incomes 7. Trade stimulates economic growth 8. The basic principles make life more efficient 9. Governments are shielded from lobbying The system encourages good government.
Is it a dictatorial tool of the rich and powerful? Does it destroy jobs? Does it ignore the concerns of health, the environment and development? Weak forced to join? Menu Skip to content. Connect Facebook Twitter Linkedin Tumblr.More...