Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

World Trade Organisation. An Introduction for (future) Managers


Published on

An introduction to the WTO and its relevance for managers

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

World Trade Organisation. An Introduction for (future) Managers

  1. 1.
  2. 2. The Regulatory Environment Rules Actors Public Law State <> Citizen (Companies) Private law Citizen <> Citizen (Companies) National (State) Civil law = branches: state law (constitution) & administrative law Common law: “Monolithic” law Civil law: legislation + case law Common Law : case law + acts International (States) Treaties (EU)/Conventions (NY 1959) International Organisations (WTO) Treaties/Conventions (CISG) National IPL (conflict of laws) Hard & Soft law which are relevant to international business Private business organisations (ICC), Law Firms (Party autonomy)
  3. 3. WTO = About…
  4. 4. WTO = About Trade • The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. • Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
  5. 5. WTO = About Negotiations • Above all, it’s a negotiating forum … Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments go, to try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other. The first step is to talk. • The WTO was born out of negotiations, and everything the WTO does is the result of negotiations.
  6. 6. WTO = Agreements • It’s a set of rules … At its heart are the WTO 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.
  7. 7. WTO = Relevant to Business • 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.
  8. 8. Intro • International Organisation: January 1, 1995 the WTO replaced the GATT (128 countries) • WTO Membership: 159 (incl.: EU – Commisison negotiates, 48 LDCs) • Secretariat: 550 staff members, headed by a Director General, based in Geneva
  9. 9. Roberto Azevedo of Brazil Director General
  10. 10. History Highlights • 1947 October – 23 countries sign the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) in Geneva, Switzerland. Objective to boost trade liberalisation. • 1986-93 – Gatt trade ministers launch the Uruguay Round, embarking on the most ambitious and far-reaching trade round so far. The round extended the range of trade negotiations, leading to major reductions in agricultural subsidies, an agreement to allow full access for textiles and clothing from developing countries, and an extension of intellectual property rights. • 1995 - The WTO is created in Geneva. Whereas GATT had mainly dealt with trade in goods, the WTO and its agreements now cover trade in services, and intellectual property.
  11. 11. History Highlights • 2001 December – China formally joins the WTO. Taiwan is admitted weeks later. • 2011 December – Russia joins the WTO after 18 years negotiating its membership. Switzerland brokered a deal to persuade Georgia to lift its veto, which it had imposed after the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. • 2013 December- Bali (WTO is saved)
  12. 12. (Non) Members & LDC‘s
  13. 13. Organisation • The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. • At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. • The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.
  14. 14. Becoming a Member • Becoming a WTO member requires compliance with the WTO rules in force and negotiations with the existing members on the acceding country’s commitments. • These negotiations are concluded when there is a decision taken by the WTO Ministerial Conference.
  15. 15. Authorities and Structure
  16. 16. Authorities and Structure • The WTO is a member-driven organization composed of States (intergovernmental organisation) • It sets the framework for trade between its members with decisions taken on a consensus basis. • Decisions in the WTO are generally taken by consensus of the entire membership. The highest institutional body is the Ministerial Conference, which meets roughly every two years.
  17. 17. Intro ctd. Ministerial Conferences o Bali, 3-6 December 2013 o Geneva, 15-17 December 2011 o Geneva, 30 November - 2 December 2009 o Hong Kong, 13-18 December 2005 o Cancún, 10-14 September 2003 o Doha, 9-13 November 2001 o Seattle, November 30 – December 3, 1999 o Geneva, 18-20 May 1998 o Singapore, 9-13 December 1996
  18. 18. Main Activities 1 o 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. antidumping, subsidies, product standards, etc.) Doha Development Round) o administering and monitoring the application of the WTO's agreed rules for trade in goods, trade in services, and trade-related intellectual property rights o monitoring and reviewing the trade policies of members, as well as ensuring transparency of regional and bilateral trade agreements Trade policy Review Mechanism o settling disputes among our members regarding the interpretation and application of the agreements. A dispute arises when a member government believes another member government is violating an agreement or a commitment that it has made in the WTO. See Dispute Settlement and cases
  19. 19. General Council o A General Council conducts the organization's business in the intervals between Ministerial Conferences. o The General Council also meets as the Dispute Settlement Body and as the Trade Policy Review Body. o All three are in fact the same — the Agreement Establishing the WTO states they are all the General Council, although they meet under different terms of reference. Again, all three consist of all WTO members. They report to the Ministerial Conference.
  20. 20. Main Activities ctd. o building capacity of developing country government officials in international trade matters o assisting the process of accession of some 30 countries who are not yet members of the organization o conducting economic research and collecting and disseminating trade data in support of the WTO's other main activities o explaining to and educating the public about the WTO, its mission and its activities.
  21. 21. EU and WTO o The EU is committed to multilateralism and has acknowledged the fundamental importance of WTO in the international trade system. o Being the world's major global player in the international trade, the EU supports the work of the WTO on multilateral rule-making, trade liberalisation and sustainable development.
  22. 22. WTO Perspectives Perspective Focus Economics o Effects international trade o Why (preferential) trade agreements o Forms: FTA, CU, Single Market, Ec., Monetary, Political Union International law o Multilateral agreements (GATT>WTO Timeline) o Organisation o Functions o Authorities o Dispute settlement Politics o Economic growth (underdeveloped<>developed countries) o Jobs / Protection own industries o Facilitate internationalisation/exports own industries Business o Market access & lower tariffs o Reduced Market Entry Costs (increases competitiveness) o Fair Competition o IP protection TRIPS
  23. 23. People‘s Perspective
  24. 24. 2013 December – Trade ministers meeting in Bali agree on first global WTO deal, on cross-border commerce, which could add almost $1tn a year to the global economy
  25. 25. Business leaders call for new global trade deal Bali, 03 December 2013 • Business leaders from over 30 countries have today issued a statement calling on governments to conclude a new multilateral deal to cut customs bureaucracy at this week’s World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Bali. • In an open letter to the Financial Times, the CEOs and Chairmen of more than 80 international companies – headed by ICC’s Chairman, Harold McGraw – emphasized that a trade facilitation deal could boost global GDP by upwards of 3%. • Over the past three weeks, officials from around the world have been locked in round-the-clock negotiations to hammer out a final deal which could be finalized at this week’s ministerial. • The letter, which was released at the initiative of ICC, calls on trade ministers in Bali “to get the deal done” and secure the first multilateral trade agreement in almost two decades. The business leaders wrote: “All trade ministers should consider what this would mean for businesses in their respective economies. A robust WTO deal would enable many companies to trade internationally for the first time, particularly as the Internet opens up new market opportunities for small- and medium-sized companies.”
  26. 26. Karel De Gucht European Trade Commissioner "We have saved the WTO" Press Conference after the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)/ Bali, Indonesia. 6 December 2013 Ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased that we have good news today. We have saved the WTO. I am delighted that a compromise has been found over the issue of food security for India and that we have been able to all agree a full Bali package on trade facilitation, development issues and agriculture. I admit that I am even very relieved - because this Bali package will benefit all of us – but in particular the millions of poor people across the globe in the least developed countries. That has been the objective of the European Union from the outset. I am also relieved because today marks the return of the WTO from the darkness of multilateral irrelevance into the light of multilateral action and success. Today, we have saved the WTO and the Bali package. We have avoided throwing away the potential benefits that this package of measures will have for all of us – but notably the developing world. And allow me to thank our Indonesian hosts and, of course, the Director General of the WTO Roberto Azevedo for their tireless efforts in the last days and hours to bring us to this successful outcome in Bali. So what does today's Bali package mean? Just take trade facilitation - which is essentially a way to help many countries cut red tape at their borders to become more efficient and effective traders. This deal will help developing countries save around 325 billion euros per year. Mature economies are winners too, reducing their trade costs by about 10 per cent. Everyone wins. The EU will also cover a significant share of the funding needs of developing countries to implement the agreement: some 400 million euros over five years. Let me be crystal clear: the European Union is committed to helping developing countries be able to help themselves. That's the success story of the Bali package today. And finally just a few words on the issue of food security. I have already stated several times this week that the European Union fully supports food security measures to ensure the world's poor can eat. People everywhere must have enough to eat - this is a fundamental human right. The European Union's record speaks for itself: the EU is the world's largest donor of food security and agricultural development assistance providing around 1 billion euros for food security each year. So, I am very pleased that a compromise has been found with India to meet their concerns. I fully support this solution. Ladies and gentlemen – thank you for your time and I'd happily take a few questions. Thank you.
  27. 27. WTO: Trading System Principles • The trading system should be ... • without discrimination — a country should not discriminate between its trading partners (giving them equally ―most-favoured-nation‖ or MFN status); and it should not discriminate between its own and foreign products, services or nationals (giving them ―national treatment‖); • freer — barriers coming down through negotiation; • predictable — foreign companies, investors and governments should be confident that trade barriers (including tariffs and non-tariff barriers) should not be raised arbitrarily; tariff rates and market-opening commitments are ―bound‖ in the WTO; • more competitive — discouraging ―unfair‖ practices such as export subsidies and dumping products at below cost to gain market share; • more beneficial for less developed countries — giving them more time to adjust, greater flexibility, and special privileges.
  28. 28. Trade Without Discrimination • 1. Most-favoured-nation (MFN): treating other people equally Under the WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Grant someone a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate for one of their products) and you have to do the same for all other WTO members. • This principle is known as most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment • It is so important that it is the first article of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which governs trade in goods. • MFN is also a priority in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) (Article 2); and • the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (Article 4), • Together, those three agreements cover all three main areas of trade handled by the WTO
  29. 29. So • Is the country you are planning to export to a WTO member? Yes • Is your country? Yes • So……you are entitled to have your products entering the market against the lowest tariff • And once on the market………….
  30. 30. No Discrimination • National treatment: Treating foreigners and locals equally • Imported and locally-produced goods should be treated equally — at least after the foreign goods have entered the market. The same should apply to foreign and domestic services, and to foreign and local trademarks, copyrights and patents.
  31. 31. No Discrimination • This principle of “national treatment” (giving others the same treatment as one’s own nationals) is also found in all the three main WTO agreements (Article 3 of GATT, Article 17 of GATS and Article 3 of TRIPS), although once again the principle is handled slightly differently in each of these. • National treatment only applies once a product, service or item of intellectual property has entered the market. • Therefore, charging customs duty on an import is not a violation of national treatment even if locally-produced products are not charged an equivalent tax.
  32. 32. Freer Trade • Lowering trade barriers is one of the most obvious means of encouraging trade. The barriers concerned include customs duties (or tariffs) and measures such as import bans or quotas that restrict quantities selectively. • From time to time other issues such as red tape and exchange rate policies have also been discussed.
  33. 33. Freer Trade • Since GATT’s creation in 1947-48 there have been eight rounds of trade negotiations. A ninth round, under the Doha Development Agenda, is now underway. • At first these focused on lowering tariffs (customs duties) on imported goods. As a result of the negotiations, by the mid-1990s industrial countries’ tariff rates on industrial goods had fallen steadily to less than 4%. • But by the 1980s, the negotiations had expanded to cover non-tariff barriers on goods, and to the new areas such as services and intellectual property. • Opening markets can be beneficial, but it also requires adjustment. The WTO agreements allow countries to introduce changes gradually, through “progressive liberalization”. Developing countries are usually given longer to fulfil their obligations.
  34. 34. So • Business becomes easier, cheaper, faster • Less transaction costs, increases companies‘ competiveness • But investigate specific arrangements!
  35. 35. Predictability…. Through: o Binding: when countries agree to open their markets for goods or services, they ―bind‖ their commitments. A country can change its bindings, but only after negotiating with its trading partners, which could mean compensating them for loss of trade. o Transparency: clear and publicly available trade rules. The regular surveillance of national trade policies through the Trade Policy Review Mechanism provides a further means of encouraging transparency both domestically and at the multilateral level.
  36. 36. Predictability…. o Governments want to ―offer‖ o A stable and predictable business environment o Which helps business in assessing opportunities o And deciding on investments which o Create jobs and generate tax revenues.
  37. 37. So • Business becomes less risky • But ….the risks of war, revolutions, earthquakes, terrorism, refugees, dictators whims etc. remain
  38. 38. Promoting Fair Competition • The WTO system does allow tariffs and, in limited circumstances, other forms of protection. Most accurately, it is a system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted competition. • The rules on non-discrimination — MFN and national treatment — are designed to secure fair conditions of trade. So too are those on dumping (exporting at below cost to gain market share) and subsidies. • Many of the other WTO agreements aim to support fair competition: in agriculture, intellectual property, services, for example. The agreement on government procurement (a “plurilateral” agreement because it is signed by only a few WTO members) extends competition rules to purchases by thousands of government entities in many countries.
  39. 39. So • ‗Level playing field‘ of competition…. • But also realise that countries/EU have their own competition laws (which you as a company cannot neglect)
  40. 40. Encouraging development and economic reform • The WTO system contributes to development. • Over three quarters of WTO members are developing countries and countries in transition to market economies. • Developing countries need flexibility in the time they take to implement the system‘s agreements. • And the agreements themselves inherit the earlier provisions of GATT that allow for special assistance and trade concessions for developing countries. • More recently, developed countries have started to allow duty-free and quota-free imports for almost all products from least-developed countries.
  41. 41. EU/WTO and LDC‘s • Through the WTO, the EU also seeks to promote sustainable development in trade, such as: • The Everything But Arms initiative – where all imports from the world's poorest countries enter the EU free of import duties or quotas, with the exception of armaments • The special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as GSP+ • The EU's "Generalised Scheme of Preferences" (GSP) allows developing country exporters to pay less or no duties on their exports to the EU. This gives them vital access to EU markets and contributes to their economic growth. • Aid for Trade Aid for Trade is assistance to support developing countries' efforts to expand their trade as a tool to help growth and reduce poverty.
  42. 42. So • Opportunities for businesses from less developed countries • MNC‘s can profit more from cheaper production in LDC‘s and Aid for Trade investments
  43. 43. Conclusion • The WTO improves the global trading system • From which companies can profit • Provided they understand the rules • And take into account the other risks in international business • So there are excellent job opportunities for those of you who understand and can manage the complexities of trade and regulatory systems.
  44. 44. Literature