OVERVIEW OF WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
Current members of the WTO (in
Formation : 1 January, 1995
Membership :151 member states
Official Languages : English,
Basic theme: Liberalization of
Base form: General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
An international organization designed to supervise and liberalize
Deals with the rules of trade between nations at a global or near-
A forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It’s a
place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade
The WTO has 151 members
The 27 states of the European
Union are represented also as the
WTO members do not have to be
full sovereign nation-members.
A number of non-members have
been observers (32) at the WTO
and are currently negotiating their
14 states and 2 territories so far
have no official interaction with the
o To raise standards of living
o To ensure full employment
o To monitor growing volume of real income and effective demand
o To expand the production of and trade in goods and services.
o To reduce tariffs and other trade barriers.
o To apply nondiscriminatory rules.
GATT established in 1948 which one is altered to WTO in 1995
Two additional objectives were added to the WTO
consideration for environmental preservation
consideration for developing countries
WTO has large number of members than GATT
Figure : Marrakech Protocol for the Establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO Protocol)
Marrakech Protocol to establish the World Trade Organization (WTO Establishment Protocol)
Multilateral Agreements on Trade in Goods
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (1994 GATT)
Agreement on Agriculture
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
Agreement on Textiles and Clothing
Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIM)
Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade 1994 (Anti-Dumping Agreement)
Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trade 1994 (Customs Valuation Agreement)
Agreement on Preshipment Inspection (PSI)
Agreement on Rules of Origin
Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures
Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures
Agreement on Safeguards
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) (Annex 1B)
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes
Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM)
Plurilateral Trade Agreements *Note
Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft
Agreement on Government Procurement
*Note - International Dairy agreement and International Bovine Meat Agreement were valid for 3 years from 1995, but revoked at the end of 1997 due to the
resolution of non-extension for 1998 and beyond.
Market access: Substantial reductions
Exports subsidies: Reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all
forms of these
Domestic support: Substantial reductions for supports that distort
Reducing tariff protections for small farmers – a key source of income for
Allowing rich countries to continue to pay their farmers massive subsidies
Trade without discrimination
Barriers coming down through negotiation
Predictability: through binding and transparency
Promoting fair competition
More beneficial for less developed countries
The areas covered by the TRIPS Agreement
Copyright and related rights
Trademarks, including service marks
Layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits
Undisclosed information, including trade secrets
The agreement covers five broad issues:
How basic principles of the trading system and other international
intellectual property agreements should be applied
How to give adequate protection to intellectual property rights
How countries should enforce those rights adequately in their own
How to settle disputes on intellectual property between members of the
Special transitional arrangements during the period when the new system is
Inspection and labeling
Animal and plant health (imported pests and
Ensure technical negotiations and standards,
Testing and certification procedures,
Do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.
The WTO is governed by a Ministerial
Conference, which meets every two
A General Council, which implements
the conference's policy decisions and is
responsible for day-to-day
The Ministerial Conference is the organization’s highest-level decision-making body. It
meets ―at least once every two years‖, as required by the Marrakesh Agreement
Establishing the World Trade Organization — the WTO’s founding charter.
First ministerial conference Singapore 9–13 Dec. 1996
Second ministerial conference Geneva, Switzerland 18-20 May 1998
Third ministerial conference Seattle, Washington 30 Nov.–3 Dec. 1999
Fourth ministerial conference Doha, Qatar 9–14 Nov. 2001
Fifth ministerial conference Cancún, Mexico 10–14 Sept. 2003
Sixth ministerial conference Hong Kong 13–18 Dec 2005
Disagreements between largely
developed and developing
economies emerged during this
conference over four issues
initiated by this conference, which
led to them being collectively
referred to as the “Singapore
In “Singapore issues” discussed on
Relationship between trade and
Interaction between trade and
Transparency in government
The third conference in Seattle, Washington
ended in failure, with massive demonstrations
and police and National Guard crowd control
efforts drawing worldwide attention.
WTO with 135 countries trying to operate by
consensus, proved too unwieldy. The topics
discussed in Seattle were too complex to be
resolved in a week, and Third World nations
"became furious" because they were not
involved in enough of the negotiations. Smaller
and poorer countries have long felt slighted in
the WTO, where they say they are pushed
around by bigger, stronger countries.
Third World countries found themselves
disadvantaged as wealthy countries with huge
delegations were able to send people to a
variety of meetings at all times of the day.
Japan had 88 negotiators in Seattle; the United
States 85 and the Europeans 76. By contrast,
Belize, Burkina Faso and the Congo each had
five, while Dominica could afford only four.
The Doha round was to be an ambitious effort to make globalization
more inclusive and help the world's poor, particularly by slashing
barriers and subsidies in farming
Doha summit provides the mandate for negotiations on a range of
subjects and other work. The negotiations include those on agriculture
and services, which began in early 2000.
In Doha, Ministers also approved a linked decision on implementation -
problems developing countries face in implementing the current WTO
The negotiations take place in the Trade Negotiations Committee and its
subsidiaries. Other work under the work programme takes place in other
WTO councils and committees.
The work programme
The 21 subjects listed in the Doha
Most of these involve negotiations;
other work includes actions under
“implementation”, analysis and
Subjects that was covered in Doha
summits are tariffs, non-tariff
measures, agriculture, labor standards,
environment, competition, investment,
transparency, patents etc.
The implementation decision
Around 100 implementation issues were raised in the lead-up to the
Doha Ministerial Conference.
More than 40 items under 12 headings were settled at or before the Doha
conference, for immediate delivery; and the vast majority of the
remaining items are immediately the subject of negotiations.
Those implementation issues where there is no mandate to negotiate,
would be the taken up as “a matter of priority” by relevant WTO
councils and committees.
These bodies are to report on their progress to the Trade Negotiations
Committee by the end of 2002 for “appropriate action”.
Multilateral environmental agreements
Trade barriers on environmental goods
The Cancún meeting’s special task is to “take stock of
progress in the [Doha Development Agenda] negotiations,
provide any necessary political guidance and take decisions
This is spelt out in the declaration that ministers issued at the
previous ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in
But the meeting was soured by discord on agricultural issues,
including cotton, and ended in deadlock on the “Singapore
Ministers will also examine progress in other areas of the
Doha work programme, including “implementation” issues.
And they are likely to approve some new members.
The Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong recorded
the progress made in the year and a half since then.
Consultations on agriculture, non-agricultural market access
and development issues show that differences remain on a
number of issues.
For the negotiations on agriculture and non-agricultural
market access, the next aim is to agree on formulas and
other details that will determine the scale of reductions in
tariffs on thousands of products and on farm subsidies.
The agenda are preparation for the final stages of
negotiations in services, various WTO rules and a number of
The final declaration included agreement on a range of
questions, which further narrowed down members’
differences and edged the talks closer to consensus.
A new timetable was agreed for 2006 and members resolved
to finish the negotiations by the end of the year. By then, the
original 1 January 2005 deadline had been missed.
The rich (both people and
countries) becoming richer,
while the poor are getting
Has a systematic bias toward
rich countries and multinational
Harming smaller countries
which have less negotiation
No gains for poor countries
because of phasing out of
textiles quotas, increase in non-
tariff barriers and throw out of
subsidy system in agriculture.
The issues of labor and
environment are steadfastly
Non-trade agendas in trip might
disrupt the organization's