• The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade.• It was established on January 1, 1995. It replaced GATT (General Agreements On Tariffs and Trade), which was formed after the Second World War.• The purpose was to facilitate international bargaining and to reduce barriers to trade.• It has 153 member states. Founder members and subsequent members. India is a founder member.• The Director General of WTO is Pascal Lamy.
• The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization 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.
Its main function is to ensure that trade flows assmoothly, predictably and freely as possible.Administering trade agreementsActing as a forum for trade negotiationsSettling trade disputesReviewing national trade policiesCooperating with other international organizations
Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, throughtechnical assistance and training programmes.Negotiating the reduction or elimination of obstacles to trade(import tariffs, other barriers to trade) and agreeing on rulesgoverning the conduct of international trade.Assisting the process of accession of some 30 countries who arenot yet members of the organization.Conducting economic research and collecting and disseminatingtrade data in support of the WTOs other main activities.
The WTO has nearly 150 members, accounting for over 97% of 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, GATT. The WTO’s agreements have been ratified in all members’ parliaments. The WTO’s top level decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference which meets at least once every two years. Below this is the General Council (normally ambassadors and heads of delegation in Geneva, but sometimes officials sent from members’ capitals) which meets several times a year in the Geneva headquarters. The General Council also meets as the Trade Policy Review Body and the Dispute Settlement Body.
At the next level, the Goods Council, Services Council and Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Council report to the General Council. Numerous specialized committees, working groups and working parties deal with the individual agreements and other areas such as the environment, development, membership applications and regional trade agreements.
BENEFITS OF WTO The system helps promote peace. Rules make life easier for all. Disputes are handled constructively. Free trade cuts the cost of living.
It provides more choice of productand quality.Trade raises income.Trade stimulate economic growth.The basic principle make life more.efficient.
INDIA AND THE WTO After Marrakesh Agreement, India joined WTO since inception in 1995. Developing countries like India availed of greater trade opportunities and also challenged certain policies of developed countries (DCs). For India, Exposure to volatile international market would affect not only domestic prices but also incomes of poor. Aim to participate in WTO rule based system with greater stability, transparency and predictability in governance of international trade. Developmental issues increasingly focused along with trade issues.
IMPACT ON THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR Farmers Subjected To WTO. Various schemes and loans for farmers. Liberalization Of World Trade. Biotechnological Advancement.
IMPACT ON TEXTILEIndia a part of Multi-Fibre Agreement(MFA).Contributes to 4% of national GDP and20% of manufacturing value added.Provides employment to 6.5 millionpersons directly or indirectly.
CONCLUSION The WTO’s rules — the agreements — are the result of negotiations between the members. The current set were the outcome of the 1986–94 Uruguay Round negotiations which included a major revision of the original General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Through these agreements, WTO members operate a non- discriminatory trading system that spells out their rights and their obligations. The Doha Round is the latest round of trade negotiations among the WTO membership. The work programme covers about 20 areas of trade. The aim is to improve the trading prospects of developing countries. WTO works for the economy as the UN works for society.