World Trade Organization

MoneyBestPal Team
An international organization that regulates trade and commerce among its 164 member countries.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization that regulates trade and commerce among its 164 member countries. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was founded in order to advance free trade and thwart protectionism following World War II, was succeeded by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.

The main functions of the WTO are:
  • To provide a venue for discussions and talks regarding trade-related issues and disagreements
  • To oversee and uphold the multilateral trade system's rules and agreements
  • To work with other international organizations and stakeholders on trade-related issues 
  • To monitor and evaluate the trade policies and practices of its members.
  • To help developing and least-developed nations integrate into the world economy

Non-discrimination, reciprocity, transparency, and consensus are the guiding principles of the WTO. The WTO accords developing nations special and varied treatment in a number of sectors in recognition of their unique needs and interests.

The WTO addresses several trade-related issues, including tariffs, quotas, subsidies, intellectual property rights, services, agriculture, the environment, health, labor, and e-commerce. The WTO also provides a dispute resolution process that enables members to address trade disputes through negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or adjudication by a panel of impartial specialists.

The WTO seeks to advance free and open trade, support economic development and growth, lessen poverty and inequality, and promote world peace and stability. However, the WTO also faces many challenges and criticisms, such as:
  • The absence of developing countries' representation and involvement in decision-making processes
  • Trade policies and agreements that favor developed nations and multinational firms are unbalanced and unfair.
  • The complexity and difficulty of negotiating new trade agreements in a world that is diverse and fragmented
  • The neglect of new concerns including pandemic preparedness, digitization, human rights, and climate change
  • Growing protectionism, nationalism, populism, and unilateralism's degradation of credibility

In order to solve these problems and restore the WTO's function and importance in the twenty-first century, a reformation process is currently underway. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who became the WTO's first African woman and first woman director general in March 2021, is another new addition to the institution. She has pledged to work with all members and stakeholders to deliver results on key priorities such as:
  • Finalizing the fisheries subsidies negotiations
  • Advancing the e-commerce negotiations
  • Enhancing the conflict resolution process enhancing transparency and oversight
  • COVID-19 recovery efforts are being aided
  • Promoting sustainability and inclusivity

The WTO is a crucial organization for international collaboration and governance. Over the years, it has aided in the growth and integration of global trade. Additionally, it has the potential to deal with some of the most important problems currently facing humanity. To fulfill the evolving requirements and expectations of its members and the general public, the WTO must, however, also change and reform.