A Project on the World Trade Organization

The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. The WTFO is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GAIT), which commenced in 1948. The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries; it provides a framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements, and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTFO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and deified by their parliaments.

Who we are? There are a number of ways of looking at the World Trade Organization. It is an organization for trade opening. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It is a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTFO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other. The WTFO was born out of negotiations, and everything the WTFO does is the result of negotiations. The bulk of the Wet’s current work comes from the 1986-94 negotiations called the Uruguay

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Round and earlier negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GAIT). The WTFO is currently the host to new negotiations, under the ‘Doth Development Agenda’ launched in 2001. Where countries have faced trade barriers and wanted them lowered, the negotiations have helped to open markets for trade. But the WTFO is not Just about opening markets, and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers ? for example, to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease. At its heart are the WTFO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations.

These documents provide the legal ground rules for international commerce. They are essentially contracts, binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits. Although negotiated and signed by governments, the goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business, while allowing governments to meet social and environmental objectives. The system’s overriding purpose is to help trade flow as freely as possible ? so long as there are no undesirable side effects ? because this is important for economic development and well-being.

That partly means removing obstacles. It also means ensuring that individuals, companies and governments know what the trade rules are around the world, and giving them the confidence that there will be no sudden changes of policy. In other words, the rules have to be transparent’ and predictable. Trade relations often involve conflicting interests. Agreements, including those painstakingly negotiated in the WTFO system, often need interpreting. The most harmonious way to settle these differences is through some neutral procedure based on an agreed legal foundation.

That is the purpose behind the dispute settlement process written into the WTFO agreements. The WTFO agreements are lengthy and complex because they are legal texts covering a wide range of activities. But a number of simple, fundamental principles run throughout all of these documents. These principles are the foundation of the multilateral trading system. 1 . Non-discrimination-A country should not discriminate between its trading partners and it should not discriminate between its own and foreign products, services or nationals. 2.

More open-Lowering trade barriers is one of the most obvious ways of encouraging trade; these barriers include customs duties (or tariffs) and measure such as import mans or quotas that restrict quantities selectively. 3. Predictable and transparent-Foreign companies, investors and governments should be confident that trade barriers should not be raised arbitrarily. With stability and predictability, investment is encouraged, Jobs are created and consumers can fully enjoy the benefits of competition ? choice and lower prices. 4.

More competitive-Discouraging ‘unfair’ practices, such as export subsidies and dumping products at below cost to gain market share; the issues are complex, and the rules try to establish what is fair or unfair, and how governments can respond, in reticular by charging additional import duties calculated to compensate for damage caused by unfair trade. 5. More beneficial for less developed countries-Giving them more time to adjust, greater flexibility and special privileges; over three-quarters of WTFO members are developing countries and countries in transition to market economies.

The WTFO agreements give them transition periods to adjust to the more unfamiliar and, perhaps, difficult WTFO provisions. 6. Protect the environment-The Wet’s agreements permit members to take measures to protect not only the environment but also public health, animal health and plant health. However, these measures must be applied in the same way to both national and foreign businesses. In other words, members must not use environmental protection measures as a means of disguising protectionist policies. What is our mission?

The World Trade Organization ? the WTFO ? is the international organization whose primary purpose is to open trade for the benefit of all. The WTFO provides a forum for negotiating agreements aimed at reducing obstacles to international trade and ensuring a level playing field for all, thus contributing to economic growth and development. The WTFO also provides a legal and institutional framework for the implementation and monitoring of these agreements, as well as for settling disputes arising from their interpretation and application.

The current body of trade which all WTFO members are parties) and two different bilateral agreements (to which only some WTFO members are parties). Over the past 60 years, the WTFO, which was established in 1995, and its predecessor organization the GAIT have helped to create a strong and prosperous international trading system, thereby contributing to unprecedented global economic growth. The WTFO currently has 159 members, of which 117 are developing countries or separate customs territories. WTFO activities are supported by a Secretariat of some 700 staff, led by the WTFO Director-General.

The Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and has an annual budget of approximately CHEF 200 million ($180 million, ?¬130 million). The three official languages of the WTFO are English, French and Spanish. Decisions in the WTFO are generally taken by consensus of the entire membership. The highest institutional body is the Ministerial Conference, which meets roughly every two years. A General Council conducts the organization’s business in the intervals between Ministerial Conferences. Both of these bodies comprise all members.

Specialized subsidiary bodies (Councils, Committees, Sub-committees), also comprising all members, administer and monitor the implementation by members of the various WTFO agreements. More specifically, the Wet’s main activities are: Negotiating the reduction or elimination of obstacles to trade (import tariffs, other barriers to trade) and agreeing on rules governing the conduct of international trade (e. G. Antiquating, subsidies, product standards, etc. ) Administering and monitoring the application of the Wet’s agreed rules for trade in goods, trade in services, and trade-related intellectual property rights

Monitoring and reviewing the trade policies of our members, as well as ensuring transparency of regional and bilateral trade agreements Settling disputes among our members regarding the interpretation and application of the agreements Building capacity of developing country government officials in international trade matters Assisting the process of accession of some 30 countries who are not yet members of the organization Conducting economic research and collecting and disseminating trade data in support of the Wet’s other main activities Explaining to and educating the public about the WTFO, its mission and its activities.

The Wet’s founding and guiding principles remain the pursuit of open borders, the and among members, and a commitment to transparency in the conduct of its activities. The opening of national markets to international trade, with Justifiable exceptions or with adequate flexibilities, will encourage and contribute to sustainable development, raise people’s welfare, reduce poverty, and foster peace and stability. At the same time, such market opening must be accompanied by sound domestic and international policies that contribute to economic growth and development according to each member’s needs and aspirations.