The World Trade Organisation is the most powerful governmental and judicial body in the world this legislative body deals with the rules of trade between nations at a global level. The world trade organisation officially began life on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. This legislative organisation has 153 members, representing more than 97% of total world trade and 30 observers, most seeking membership. This organisation is governed by a ministerial conference. Meeting of world trade organisation held every two years. In this organisation, there is a general council, which implements the conference’s policy decisions and is responsible for day-to-day administration. In world trade organisation has a director-general, who is appointed by the ministerial conference.
Function of WTO
Instead of calling it Word Trade Organisation it should be called World Trade of Opportunities. WTO gives an opportunity to the nations to sit together and talk trade. It gives them the forum where nations can negotiate with the objective of a win-win situation. WTO administers the 28 agreement contained in the final Act and a number of plurilateral agreements and government procurement through various councils and committees. It enforces the multilateral trade rules. In a nutshell, WTO performs the following functions:
1. Helping Developing and Transition Economies: Developing countries make up about three quarters of the total WTO membership. The role of WTO increases as most of these developing countries are in transition phase as they are shifting from planned economic system to market based economic system.
The WTO Secretariat’s Training and Technical Cooperation Institute organises a number of programmes to train government officials and negotiators. Besides Geneva these programmes also take place in the country concerned. Various number of programmes are organised jointly with other international organisations.
WTO provides data of tariff and trade to developing nations to help them in their export.
2. Specialised help for Export: In 1964, the WTO established the International Trade Centre to help develop countries in their exports. It is jointly operated by the WTO and the United Nations. It provides information and advice on export markets and marketing techniques. It assists in establishing export promotion and marketing services, and in training personnel required for these services.
3. The WTO in Global Economic Policy Making: WTO cooperates with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other multilateral institutions to achieve greater coherence in global economic policy-making. A separate ministerial declaration was adopted at the Marrakesh Ministerial Meeting in April 1994 to underscore this objective.
4. Taking Information: WTO takes regular information from the member countries regarding their policies and tariffs. According to many agreements, the government has to notify the WTO about the modified trade measures like safety standards, technical standards, anti-dumping and countervailing duties, etc. In this way it keeps itself updated regarding developments but also it disseminates information to the member countries, which help them in increasing their exports.
5. Giving Information to Public: It also disseminates information to the public about the developments in WTO through its publication and its websites.