World Trade Organization - World Trade Organization The...

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World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international body whose purpose is to promote free trade by persuading countries to abolish import tariffs and other barriers. As such, it has become closely associated with globalisation. The WTO is the only international agency overseeing the rules of international trade. It polices free trade agreements, settles trade disputes between governments and organises trade negotiations. WTO decisions are absolute and every member must abide by its rulings. So, when the US and the European Union are in dispute over bananas or beef, it is the WTO which acts as judge and jury. WTO members are empowered by the organisation to enforce its decisions by imposing trade sanctions against countries that have breached the rules. OVERVIEW Based in Geneva, the WTO was set up in 1995, replacing another international organisation known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt). Gatt was formed in 1948 when 23 countries signed an agreement to reduce customs tariffs. The WTO has a much broader scope than Gatt. Whereas Gatt regulated trade in merchandise goods, the WTO also covers trade in services, such as telecommunications and banking, and other issues such as intellectual property rights. Membership of the WTO now stands at 153 countries (as at July 2008). China formally joined the body in December 2001 after a 15-year battle. Russia wants admission, but must first convince the EU and US that it has reformed business practices. The highest body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference. This meets every two years and, among other things, elects the organisation's chief executive - the director-general - and oversees the work of the General Council. The Ministerial Conference is also the setting for negotiating global trade deals, known as "trade rounds" which are aimed at reducing barriers to free trade. The General Council is in charge of the day-to-day running of the WTO and is made up of ambassadors from member states who also serve on various subsidiary and specialist committees. Among these are the Dispute Settlement Panels which rule on individual country-against-
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2012 for the course MANAGEMENT 1456 taught by Professor Khawaja during the Spring '12 term at Bahria University.

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World Trade Organization - World Trade Organization The...

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