WTO02-04English - The World Trade Organization Prepared for...

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The World Trade Organization Prepared for Human Rights and Peoples Diplomacy Training 2004 2nd 20th February 2004, Bangkok, Thailand 1 1. History of the WTO. .................................................................................... 1 2. How the WTO Works. ................................................................................. 2 3. WTO-related risks for human rights . ......................................................... 3 4. What human rights advocates can do . ...................................................... 9 5. The bigger picture. ................................................................................... 10 Useful Websites. ............................................................................................... 11 Further Reading . .............................................................................................. 12 1. History of the WTO The WTO came into being in 1995, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). GATT was created in 1947, one of the post-second world war institutions for international governance. The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank were the other institutions created in the 1940s, as world leaders at the time believed that if international institutions had existed that were capable of responding to the economic and social crises of the 1930s, it would have been possible to prevent the international climate from deteriorating to the point of war. In the 1930s, many countries had imposed arbitrary and increasingly high and discriminatory trade barriers in an attempt to hold the effects of economic depression out of their countries by keeping domestic industries alive and thus maintain domestic employment. But in fact this protectionism (protection of domestic producers at the expense of imports and global welfare) caused the effects of economic depression to spread all over the world. Rules for international trade were thus seen as a key part of post-war international governance, and GATT aimed to introduce predictability, stability and non-discrimination in international trade. GATT's creators believed that rules to ensure that trade was free and predictable was the best way to share the benefits of economic growth from one country to another. (Some of the assumptions about free trade are discussed in section 5 below). At first GATT had the modest aim of reducing barriers to trade, with a particular focus on tariffs 2 as these were the main trade-restricting device used at the time. Eight rounds of tariff reductions 1 http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/centres/dtp/about.htm 2 A tariff is a duty or tax imposed by a government on imports or exports.
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were negotiated within the GATT. The last of these, known as the “Uruguay Round” resulted in the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO Agreement incorporated the GATT as one element of its broad mandate. WTO rules reach into just about every area of daily life including food production, water
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This note was uploaded on 05/27/2011 for the course BUSINESS 401 taught by Professor Dr.rams during the Spring '11 term at Kentucky State University.

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WTO02-04English - The World Trade Organization Prepared for...

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