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The WTO - The World Trade Organization. What is the WTO? Definition. Organization to supervise and liberalize international trade -> forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements -> place for governments to settle trade disputes -> WTO operates a system of trade rules.

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what is the wto definition
What is the WTO? Definition
  • Organization to supervise and liberalize international trade

-> forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements

-> place for governments to settle trade disputes

-> WTO operates a system of trade rules

what is the wto
What is the WTO?
  • International organization
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Membership: 153 Members
  • Staff: 625
  • Official languages: English, French, Spanish
  • Director-General: Pascal Lamy
  • Governed by Ministerial Conference (meets every two years)
  • General Council; implements conference‘s policy decisions, responisble for day-to-day administration
history of the wto
History of the WTO
  • Since 1948:

The General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

-> led to birth of unofficial international organization: GATT

  • Last and largest GATT round: Uruguay Round (1986 – 1994) -> led to creation of WTO
  • Came into being: 1.January 1995
3 main wto agreements
3 Main WTO Agreements
  • Cover all three main areas of trade handled by the WTO
  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
principles of wto trading system
Principles of WTO trading system
  • Most-favoured nation (MFN): countries cannot normally discriminate between trading partners
  • National treatment: countries should not discriminate between its own and foreign products or services
principles of wto trading system1
Principles of WTO trading system
  • Freer – Barriers coming down through negotiation
  • Predictable – foreign companies, investors and governments should be confident that trade barriers should not be raised arbitrarily
principles of wto trading system2
Principles of WTO trading system
  • More competitive – discouraging „unfair“ pratices f.ex.: export subsidies
  • More beneficial for less developed countries – give them more time to adjust, greater flexibility , and special privileges
advantages of wto
Advantages of WTO
  • Helps promote peace between nations
  • Disputes are handled constructively
  • Rules make it easier for all – WTO based on rules not on power
  • Free trade cuts the cost of living, provides more choice of products and quality
  • Trade stimulates economic growth
  • Trade raises income of country and it‘s people
  • Basic principles make life more efficent
  • Governments shielded from lobbying
  • System encourages good governance
criticism of the wto
Criticism of the WTO
  • fundamentally undemocratic
  • ..tramples labor and human rights
  • ..would privatize essential services
  • destroying the environment
  • endangering human lives
  • increasing inequality
  • ..hurts poor countries in favor of rich powerful nations
  • ..undermines local level decision-making and national sovereignty
case study
Case Study

The Banana Case (1997)

  • EU preferred treatment for bananas produced by former colonies in the Caribbean.
  • The United States, which does not produce any bananas, brought this case against the EU on behalf of the U.S.-based Chiquita corporation.
  • Chiquita produces bananas in Latin America on huge plantations that are notorious for exploiting cheap farm labor and using environmentally damaging techniques.
  • In the Caribbean, which Europe is favoring, banana producers tend to be small-scale farmers who own and work their own land (an average of three acres).

Should WTO consider social and environmental issues when making its trade rules?