January 28


What is the WTO?

World trade organization was come in to existence in 1 January 1995 replacing GATT general agreement on tariff and trade which was built in 1948.

and importers conduct their business. It operates a system of trade rules. under the ‘Doha Development Agenda’ launched in 2001. exporters. the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other. It is an organization for trade opening. The goal is to help producers of goods and services. The WTO was born out of negotiations. It is a place for them to settle trade disputes. negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. • Monitoring national trade policies • Technical assistance and training for developing countries • Cooperation with other international organizations . 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 (Director-General) Functions: • Administering WTO trade agreements • Forum for trade negotiations • Handling trade disputes There are a number of ways of looking at the World Trade Organization. and everything the WTO does is the result of negotiations. At its heart are the WTO agreements. The WTO is currently the host to new negotiations. Essentially. The bulk of the WTO’s current work comes from the 1986–94 negotiations called the Uruguay Round and earlier negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Location: Geneva.What is the WTO? History World trade organization was came in to existence in 1 January 1995 replacing GATT general agreement on tariff and trade which was built in 1948.The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.

the negotiations have helped to open markets for trade. Functions  It oversees the implementation. and importers conduct their business. binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits.  It provides a forum for negotiations and for settling disputes. These documents provide the legal ground rules for international commerce. But the WTO is not just about opening markets. They are essentially contracts. to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease.  it is the WTO's duty to review and propagate the national trade policies. Although negotiated and signed by governments. least-developed and low-income countries in transition to adjust to WTO rules and disciplines through technical cooperation and training. . while allowing governments to meet social and environmental objectives. and to ensure the coherence and transparency of trade policies through surveillance in global economic policymaking  Another priority of the WTO is the assistance of developing. administration and operation of the covered agreements. At its heart are the WTO agreements. the goal is to help producers of goods and services. exporters.Where countries have faced trade barriers and wanted them lowered. and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers — for example. negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations.

and details of the WTO's work with other international organizations in the field. The Textiles Monitoring Body is separate from the other committees but still under the jurisdiction of Goods Council. Council for Trade in Services The Council for Trade in Services operates under the guidance of the General Council and is responsible for overseeing the functioning of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). and can create subsidiary bodies as required. The process takes about five years. The body also has several groups relating to textiles. news and official records of the activities of the TRIPS Council. Trade Negotiations Committee The Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) is the committee that deals with the current trade talks round.A country . negotiations to start later or no Memorandum on FTR submitted Frozen procedures or no negotiations in the last 3 years No official interaction with the WTO . Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Information on intellectual property in the WTO. but it can last more if the country is less than fully committed to the process or if political issues interfere. All members of the WTO participate in the committees. which. It is open to all WTO members. Accession and membership The process of becoming a WTO member is unique to each applicant country. having first applied to join GATT in 1993 was approved for membership in December 2011 and became a WTO member on 22 August 2012 WTO accession progress: Members (including dual-representation with the European Union) Draft Working Party Report or Factual Summary adopted Goods and/or Services offers submitted Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime (FTR) submitted Observer. The shortest accession negotiation was that of the Kyrgyz Republic. As of June 2012 the committee was tasked with the Doha Development Round.Organizational structure The General Council has the following subsidiary bodies which oversee committees in different areas: Council for Trade in Goods There are 11 committees under the jurisdiction of the Goods Council each with a specific task. and the terms of accession are dependent upon the country's stage of economic development and current trade regime. The chair is WTO's director-general. while the longest was that of Russia. on average. The body has its own chairman and only 10 members.

After all necessary background information has been acquired. even though they are negotiated bilaterally. More open Lowering trade barriers is one of the most obvious ways of encouraging trade. What WTO stands for The WTO is run by its member governments. the working party focuses on issues of discrepancy between the WTO rules and the applicant's international and domestic trade policies and laws. fundamental principles run throughout all of these documents. Predictable and transparent . which includes a summary of all the working party meetings. whose negotiations took more than 11 years before it became official member in January 2007. Non-discrimination A country should not discriminate between its trading partners and it should not discriminate between its own and foreign products. The final phase of accession involves bilateral negotiations between the applicant nation and other working party members regarding the concessions and commitments on tariff levels and market access for goods and services.wishing to accede to the WTO submits an application to the General Council. These principles are the foundation of the multilateral trading system. these barriers include customs duties (or tariffs) and measure such as import bans or quotas that restrict quantities selectively. and lists ("schedules") of the member-to-be's commitments. the working party sends to the general council or ministerial conference an accession package. either by ministers (who usually meet at least once every two years) or by their ambassadors or delegates (who meet regularly in Geneva). and has to describe all aspects of its trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO agreements.[64] The application is submitted to the WTO in a memorandum which is examined by a working party open to all interested WTO Members. Some countries may have faced tougher and a much longer accession process due to challenges during negotiations with other WTO members.WTO agreements are lengthy and complex because they are legal texts covering a wide range of activities. The working party determines the terms and conditions of entry into the WTO for the applicant nation. But a number of simple. Once the general council or ministerial conference approves of the terms of accession. and may consider transitional periods to allow countries some leeway in complying with the WTO rules. such as Vietnam. The new member's commitments are to apply equally to all WTO members under normal non-discrimination rules. the Protocol of Accession (a draft membership treaty). the applicant's parliament must ratify the Protocol of Accession before it can become a member. When the bilateral talks conclude. services or nationals. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole.

The WTO agreements give them transition periods to adjust to the more unfamiliar and.the Cotonou Agreement. investment is encouraged. The World Trade Organization (WTO) sets a global trading framework for its 153 member countries. animal health and plant health. Exports to developing countries may be eligible for aid finance and imports may benefit from preferential UK and EU customs duties under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).the changes to the Cotonou Agreement . two-thirds of which are developing countries. and explains how the GSP works. such as export subsidies and dumping products at below cost to gain market share.Foreign companies. greater flexibility and special privileges. However. In other words. and how governments can respond. investors and governments should be confident that trade barriers should not be raised arbitrarily. and the rules try to establish what is fair or unfair. jobs are created and consumers can fully enjoy the benefits of competition — choice and lower prices. difficult WTO provisions. members must not use environmental protection measures as a means of disguising protectionist policies. More competitive Discouraging ‘unfair’ practices. The WTO has also recognised the need to make greater provision for developing countries and also for small business. these measures must be applied in the same way to both national and foreign businesses. . the issues are complex. Protect the environment The WTO’s agreements permit members to take measures to protect not only the environment but also public health. With stability and predictability. This guide covers the main WTO agreements and special measures affecting developing countries . Small businesses can also trade with developing countries as subcontractors to larger businesses. More beneficial for less developed countries Giving them more time to adjust. in particular by charging additional import duties calculated to compensate for damage caused by unfair trade. over three-quarters of WTO members are developing countries and countries in transition to market aid finance and developing country debt. The WTO’s open market policies have led to changes in the EU’s main trade and aid agreement with 79 developing countries . perhaps. Developing countries and WTO There are many opportunities for small businesses in developing countries.

There are also other changes being considered by the WTO that would benefit developing countries. There are 50 LDCs as defined by the UN .including development aid contracts have been effectively removed in the EU and other developed countries.China and India.goods) the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) dispute resolution between member governments specific product/service and exporter/importer agreements The WTO also allows developing countries and ‘least developed countries’ (LDCs) to adapt more slowly to free trade. debt and finance  the lack of safeguard mechanisms for developing countries during an economic crisis WTO agreements and their changes have created a vast range of new business opportunities.for which the UK has pledged £45 million change in the TRIPS rules on patented medicines to allow developing countries to use cheaper medicines under certain circumstances . including: a program of Technical Assistance and Capacity Building . allowing many opportunities in these markets.How developing countries work within the WTO The WTO has reached several agreements to reduce and eliminate barriers to global trade. These developing countries have successfully agreed certain changes in WTO agreements. These include self-defined developing countries. and two of the world’s largest economies . These issues include:  agricultural commodities and subsistence farming  trade. Rules preventing special help for small business in public procurement . including:      the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT . such as: special measures for LDCs and small economies changes to the relationship between trade.32 of which are WTO members. . debt and finance the possibility of technology transfers the relationship between patents and development .There are also some issues which have not been resolved due to disagreements between developed and developing countries.