World Trade Organisation (WTO)
The World Trade Organisation (WTO), with a central
location in Geneva, is the only international body that deals with the rules of trade
between nations world-wide. The nexus of the WTO are the agreements it has established
which represent the foundations for policies on international trade and commerce. The
agreements are the foundation of the multi-lateral trading system and are concerned with
helping trade flow freely, the achievement of trade liberalisation through negotiation,
and the settling disputes concerned with trade. The main aims of the WTO include: working
as a forum for trade negotiations; administrating the agreements; monitoring national
trade policy; co-operating with other international organisations; and providing technical
assistance and training for developing countries.
The creation of the WTO in 1995 represented the biggest international trade reform since
the establishment of the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Before 95,
GATT set the tone for world trade with a limited field of action. By the 1980s GATT was
becoming outdated; trade had become more complex and the loopholes in it were being
exploited. When the 1990s rolled around globalisation `was increasing dramatically along
with international inventory expansion. In the Uruguay Roundtable of 1995 these issues
were confronted and the WTO was formed to replace GATT with increasing effectiveness.
Current projects of the WTO are focused around the research and analysis of various topics
dealing with trade and more recently globalisation including, but not limited to: the
environment, trade liberalisation and sustainable development, banking, and education. The
rapidly developing globalised economy and the impact of the Internet have been a main
concern of the WTO in more recent reports.
The recent Ministerial meeting in Seattle, USA, has caused major discussions and many NGOs
have engaged in critical work on WTO.
Check the list of links on Finance /
Trade / Investment / Economic Growth for references to many WTO, UN, Government and
NGO web-sites on the problems related to the WTO.
Read the Women's Caucus Statement from the WTO meeting in Seattle
For further information on WTO visit http://www.wto.org