What is the World Trade Organization (WTO)?

The WTO is an international organization that provides regulations on international trade. The organization deals with trade negotiations between member countries and also offers solutions for commercial disputes.

  1. Foundation

The WTO was founded on 1 January 1995 after the agreement formally known as the Marrakesh Agreement signed 15th April 1994 by member countries 123 to replace the general agreements on tariffs and trade (GATT). There have been extensive rounds of negotiations by the GATT member states before the breakthrough after the Uruguay Round negotiations that led to the signing of the law that established the WTO in April 15, 1994, in Morocco.

  1. objectives

The WTO aimed to provide a platform for commercial negotiation and resolution of commercial disputes. The organization is there to take charge of the implementation, operations and administration of multilateral trade agreements.

Working side by side with other international organizations such as the IMF in international economic policy creation. Provide administration of commercial policies and trade review mechanism. The WTO will provide the administration of the rules and procedures to be used in resolving commercial disputes.

  1. Membership

The process of joining this organization varies from one candidate country to another. The difference comes on the level of economic development and the commercial regimes existing in the country. On average, the WTO accession process takes about five years, but it can also take longer.

The process of achieving accession begins with the country requesting membership by submitting an application to the WTO General Council and to the application; should describe all aspects of economic and trade policies. When all was presented, the working group examines the differences between the domestic trade laws of the applicant nation and that of the WTO. The last phase involves a negotiation between the working group and the nation in question regarding the commitments undertaken towards the WTO.

Currently the WTO has members 164 other observer countries 22. The most recent members are Liberia which joined in July 14th, 2016 and Afghanistan, which joined in July 29th, 2016. The EU European Union is a member of the organization.

  1. Structure

The General Council of Organizations has subordinate bodies that take care of committees in different commercial areas. The following are the commercial areas.

  • Commodity Council : this council is made up of committees 11 that everyone has a job to do.
  • TRIPS Council : this is the advice that deals with information on intellectual property in the WTO.
  • Trade Council : this council functions under the direction of the General Council and has the task of monitoring the functioning of the General Agreement on trade in GATS services.
  • Commercial negotiation committee : this is the committee in charge of dealing with the trade-related talk rounds. For example, the Doha development cycle.
  1. Current status

The WTO is made up of the current member states of 164. The organization also has observer states 22. Liberia and Afghanistan are the last members of the organization who joined in 2016. In addition to states, the EU is also a member of the WTO. The states do not necessarily have to be completely independent. For example, members of Hong Kong and those of the People’s Republic of China are good examples of member states and not completely independent.

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