WTO and Trade Facilitation

WTO and Trade Facilitation - Mike Fisch International...

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Mike Fisch Prof. Afrasiabi International Relations 12/4/07 The WTO and Trade Facilitation The World Trade Organization, WTO for short, “is a global, multilateral IGO that promotes monitors and adjudicates international trade.” (Goldstein, 2007, p. 290) Its main responsibilities are to, “oversee implementing and administering WTO agreements, provide a forum for negotiations, and provide a dispute settlement mechanism.”(IISD and UNEP, 2000, p. 26) These responsibilities are important to solving the WTO’s main goals which are, “to raise the standard of living, ensure full employment, ensure large and steady growing real incomes and demand, and expand the production of and trade in goods and services.”(p. 26) Today, the WTO has 150 nation members. The WTO is broken down into several levels of authority. The Ministerial Conference is the highest, the General Council is second, the Councils for Trade is third, and the Subsidiary Bodies is fourth. There are many committees and branches within the WTO that have specific jobs or functions to help fulfill its responsibilities. The Council for Trade in Goods, for example, under the Councils for Trade, has similar responsibilities to that of the former General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was created in 1947 to, “facilitate freer trade.” (Goldstein, 2007, p. 290) One of the tasks of the Council for Trade in Goods that I find most interesting is Trade Facilitation. Trade Facilitation mainly deals with finding ways to increase trade amongst nations and states. This may be done through lowering trade tariffs, decreasing transactional costs of shipping and increasing distribution of goods and services. Trade Facilitation also involves the increase or decrease quotas of goods and services and the rules and regulations of customs for
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goods and services. Since the WTO recognizes that some countries are economically better than others, it classifies each country into three categories as follows: developed nations, developing nations, and least developing nations. Trade Facilitation occurs through each of the categories, but more so in least developing nations than developing nations and so on. The WTO and trade facilitation itself is based on the principle of reciprocity, meaning that "one state’s lowering of trade barriers to another should be matched in return.”(p. 291) This means that trade barriers between countries should be the same for each good or service being traded. The concept of most-favored nation (MFN) is also used in trade facilitation. It says that, “trade restrictions imposed by a WTO member on its most-favored trading partner must be applied equally to all
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course INT 106 taught by Professor Afrasiabi during the Spring '08 term at Bentley.

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WTO and Trade Facilitation - Mike Fisch International...

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