Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Established: 1 January 1995
Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986–94)
Membership: 159 countries on 2 March 2013
Budget: 197 million Swiss francs for 2013
Secretariat staff: 640
Head: Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil (Director-General)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international body dealing with the rules
of trade between nations. Its goal is to supervise and expand international trade,
monitor national trade policies, and provide technical assistance to developing
nations. The WTO is a forum for negotiating and formalizing agreements between
nations, as well as resolving disputes. The organization grew from the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was established shortly after World
War II. The WTO officially began in 1995 and now has 153 member countries,
representing more than 97% of the world's trade. An additional 30 nations are
currently observers seeking membership.
Administering trade agreements
Acting as a forum for trade negotiations
Settling trade disputes
Reviewing national trade policies
Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through
technical assistance and training programmes
Cooperating with other international organizations
(i) to implement the new world trade system as visualized in the Agreement;
(ii) to promote World Trade in a manner that benefits every country;
(iii) to ensure that developing countries secure a better balance in the sharing of the advantages resulting from the
expansion of international trade corresponding to their developmental needs;
(iv) to demolish all hurdles to an open world trading system and usher in international economic renaissance
because the world trade is an effective instrument to foster economic growth;
(v) to enhance competitiveness among all trading partners so as to benefit consumers and help in global
(vi) to increase the level of production and productivity with a view to ensuring level of employment in the world;
(vii) to expand and utilize world resources to the best;
(viii) to improve the level of living for the global population and speed up economic development of the member
The Ministerial Conference
The General Council
The Trade Policy Review Body
The Dispute Settlement Body
The Councils on Trade in Goods and Trade in
The Agreement on Agriculture 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 on January 1, 1995.
The Agreement on Agriculture contains three main
categories of commitments:
includes tarrification,tariff reduction and access opportunities.
means all non-tariff barriers such as:
Minimum import prices
State trading measures.
It measures that have a minimum impact on trade also known as
“Green Box policies”.It includes general government services
like-As in the area of Research, disease control, infrastructure
and food security. Also includes direct payment to producers in
form of income support etc.
agreement contains provisions regarding members commitment
to reduce Export subsidies.
countries are required to reduce their export subsidy
expenditure by 36%.
developing countries the percentage cuts are 24%.
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international
agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO)
that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual
property (IP) regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO
Members. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of
the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994.
Some of the important terms used in TRIPS Agreement are:
The Agreement on Trade Related Investment
Measures (TRIMs) are rules that apply to the domestic regulations a
country applies to foreign investors, often as part of an industrial policy.
The agreement was agreed upon by all members of the World Trade
Organization. The agreement was concluded in 1994 and came into force
Trade Related Investment Measures is the name of one of the four
principal legal agreements of the WTO trade treaty.
TRIMs are rules that restrict preference of domestic firms and thereby
enable international firms to operate more easily within foreign markets.
General Agreement On Trade In Services(GATS) which extends
multilateral rules and discipline to services is regarded as a Landmark
achievement of the Uruguay Round.
In short ,GATT covers the four modes of international delivery of
services1)Cross-border supply(trans-border data flows ,transportation services)
2)Commercial Presence (provision of services abroad through FDI or
4)Movement of personal(entry and temporary stay of foreign
General Agreement On Tariff And Trade(GATT),the
predecessor of WTO , was born in 1948 ,as result of the
international desire to liberalize trade.
The GATT was transformed into a World Trade Organization(WTO)
with effect from January 1995.
India is one of the founder member of IMF,world bank,GATT and the
Preamble to the GATT mentioned the following as its
standard of living.
2) Ensuring full employment and a large and steadily grow volume
of real income and effective demand.
3) Developing full use of the resources of the world.
4) Expansion of production and international trade.
the realization of its objectives , GATT adopted the following
1) Non-Discrimination- The principle of non-discrimination
requires that no member country shall discriminate between the
members of GATT in the conduct of international trade.
2) Prohibition of Quantitative Restrictions: GATT rules
seek to prohibit quantitative restrictions as far as possible and
limit restrictions on trade to the less rigid tariffs.
3) Consultation: By providing a forum for continuing
consultations , it sought to resolve disagreements through
GATT was formed in 1948 with 23 contracting parties. Were WTO was
formed in 1995 by replacing GATT.
GATT was a provisional legal agreement whereas WTO is an
organization with permanent agreements.
WTO has members while GATT had only contracting parties.
GATT dealt only with trade in goods while WTO covers services and
intellectual property rights as well.
The real critical distinction between GATT and WTO is creation of a
binding dispute settlement system. Under GATT contracting parties
could bring cases before international body but there was no effective
enforcement mechanism. But in WTO an effective enforcement
India , as a developing economy , has been benefitted being a
founding member of World Trade Organization . The country at large
has seen many significant changes which have taken place after the
formation of WTO . There are some issues which are yet to be
sorted out with the WTO and but by and large things are falling in
shape for the Indian Economy.