World Trade Organization (WTO)
Last modified: October 26, 2015
In 1995, the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was converted into the World Trade Organization (WTO) to offer a forum for negotiations in trade
among its member countries and encourage multilateral trade. It is more concerned in international law other UN bodies as its activities comprise of adjudications and negotiations (Charnovitz, 2005) although WTO has no authority to dictate government policies. Modifications in legislations, however, are being enacted indirectly to comply with the WTO regulations. Furthermore, it is not the member state governments but the corporations that are involved in trade and even the UN has no authority to regulate and monitor the corporations. (Kell et al, 2007).
Globalization and proliferation of international trade had expanded the scope of WTO in directing the restrictions in trans-border trade using rules against subsidies and adjustment assistance (Charnovitz, 2005). But some view these restrictions as being directed more towards the developing countries who stand to suffer more losses and the developed countries like the US with heavily subsidized food production impose the costs of protection on the developing countries, and consequently invalidate almost the entire value of foreign aid given to the poorer countries (Trebilcock, 2005).
To mitigate the problems being faced by the WTO and its member countries, a few suggestions could be considered in the way it operates: Welcoming constructive criticism of the WTO system would be appreciated in many areas such as: in the restructuring of the methods used by states resolve their disputes; augmentation of the capabilities of developing countries so that they can participate in WTO negotiations and disputes at higher levels; and in making the procedures and decision-making of the WTO more open and transparent. The policy makers have to take these issues under consideration and propose productive packages to counteract the more serious views of the critics and direct the world closer to peace and prosperity.
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