About…. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization designed to supervise and liberalize international trade. The WTO came into being on 1 January 1995, and is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was created in 1947, and continued to operate for almost five decades as a de facto international organization.
FUNCTION Among the various functions of the WTO, these are regarded by analysts as the most important: * It oversees the implementation, administration and operation of the covered agreements. * It provides a forum for negotiations and for settling disputes. Additionally, it is the WTO's duty to review the national trade policies, and to ensure the coherence and transparency of trade policies through surveillance in global economic policy- making. Another priority of the WTO is the assistance of developing, least-developed and low-income countries in transition to adjust to WTO rules and disciplines through technical cooperation and training. The WTO is also a center of economic research and analysis: regular assessments of the global trade picture in its annual publications and research reports on specific topics are produced by the organization. Finally, the WTO cooperates closely with the two other components of the Bretton Woods system, the IMF and the World Bank
Core principles of WTO Non - Discrimination Reciprocity of Trade Concessions Trade Liberalization Transparency and predictability in import and export rules and regulations . Favorable treatment to less developed countries . MFN - Any trade concession a nation offers to one member, it must offer to all National Treatment. This means that imported products must be treated the same as domestic goods.
GATT To WTO A WTO also broke new ground, adding a number of trade sectors and issues not addressed by the GATT
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) adds services.
Trade in Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) adds copyrights, and patents.
Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) sets rules for ForeignDirect Investment.
Government Procurement (GPA) & the Information Technologies (ITA)
agreements also international rules on new product areas.
Agreements The WTO oversees about 60 different agreements which have the status of international legal texts. Member countries must sign and ratify all WTO agreements on accession. A list of WTO agreements can be found here A discussion of some of the most important agreements follows. 1 .Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) The Agreement on Agriculture came into effect with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995. The AoA has three central concepts, or "pillars": domestic support, market access and export subsidies. 2 . General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) The General Agreement on Trade in Services was created to extend the multilateral trading system to service sector, in the same way the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides such a system for merchandise trade. The Agreement entered into force in January 1995.
Agreements 3 . Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement(TRIPs) The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. 5. Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the end of 1994. 4 . Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Agreement The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures - also known as the SPS Agreement was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995.
Abstract One of the most dramatic events that have taken place in later part of 20 th century was culmination of GATT 1947 into WTO (The world Trade organization), which came into being on 1 st January 2005. This WTO has set expectations high in various member countries (by now 149 including latest addition of Saudi Arabia) regarding spurt in world trade where India has insignificant share in the pie-Only 0.75% at the most. Even in IT exports the share of Indian exporters is just peanuts in view of overall world market. Since formation of WTO there have been regular meetings of Ministerial Conferences (Highest Policy level body of WTO) religiously every 2 years and 5 such meetings have taken place while world prepares for the Hong Kong meeting to take place shortly, the sixth one. While 5 th meet at Cancun, Mexico was more or less failure, the earlier one at Seattle, USA was received with brickbats from environmentalist and Labor union Groups protesting against WTO regime. It is statistical fact that world trade has definitely grown since 1995 thereby giving indicators that international trade reforms do play important role in boosting economic development of various countries.
Problems facing India in WTO & its Implementation - Predominance of developed nations in negotiations extracting more benefits from developing and least developed countries - Resource and skill limitations of smaller countries to understand and negotiate under rules of various agreements under WTO - Incompatibility of developed and developing countries resource sizes thereby causing distortions in implementing various decisions - Questionable effectiveness in implementation of agreements reached in past and sincerity - Non-tariff barriers being created by developed nations. - Regional cooperation groups posing threat to utility of WTO agreement itself, which is multilateral encompassing all member countries - Poor implementation of Doha Development Agenda
What India should do? The most important things for India to address are speed up internal reforms in building up world-class infrastructure like roads, ports and electricity supply. India should also focus on original knowledge generation in important fields like Pharmaceutical molecules, textiles, IT high end products, processed food, installation of cold chain and agricultural logistics to tap opportunities of globalization under WTO regime. India's ranking in recent Global Competitiveness report is not very encouraging due to infrastructure problems, poor governance, poor legal system and poor market access provided by India. Our tariffs are still high compared to Developed countries and there will be pressure to reduce them further and faster.