Wto expose 2009
The World Trade Organization came into being in 1995. One of the youngest of the international organizations, the WTO is the successor to the General Agreement on tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in the wake of the Second World War. So while the WTO is still young, the multilateral trading system that was originally set up under GATT is well over 50 years old.
GATT and the WTO have helped to create a strong and prosperous trading system contributing ti unprecedented growth.
Functions of WTO:
- Administering trade agreements
- Acting as a forum for trade negotiations
- Setting trade disputes
- Reviewing national trade policies
- Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues through technical assistance and training program
- Cooperating with other international organizations
The WTO has 153 members accounting for over 97% of the world trade. Around 30 others are negotiating membership.
Decisions are made by the entire membership. This is typically by consensus. A majority vote is also possible but it has never been used in the WTO, and was extremely rare under the WTO’s predecessor: The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO’s agreements have been ratified in all members’ parliaments.
1. The WTO’s top level decision making body in the Ministerial Conference which meets at least once every two years.
2. Below this is the General council (normally ambassadors and heads of delegation in Geneva, but sometimes officials sent from members’ capita as the Trade Policy Review Body and the Dispute Settlement Body.
3. At the next level, the Goods council, Services council, and working parties and Intellectual Property Council (TRIPS) report to the General Council.
4 & 5. Numerous specialized committees, working groups deal with the individual agreements and other areas such as the environment, development, membership applications and regional trade