World Trade Organization: An Advocate For The Poor

1468 words - 6 pages

The World Trade Organization is an international, multilateral organization setting policies for the global trading system. It settles trade disputes between its member states - one hundred and forty nine in number - and is a successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which was dissolved in the year 1995 to give birth to the World Trade Organization in its stead All of the principles and agreements of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade were adopted by the new organization, which added approximately thirty more to them. The new organization stated that its mission is to increase international trade by promoting lower trade barriers. World Trade Organization is also a platform for the negotiation of trade ("World Trade Organization," 2006).One of the fundamental principles of trading around which the World Trade Organization discussions revolve is that a trading system ought to be more accommodating for poor nations by giving them more time to adjust, greater flexibility, and more privileges. An open market system is advocated, while it is stressed that a trade system should be free of discrimination. The World Trade Organization is thus a powerful ally for the poor and less developed countries against exploitation from rich and developed nations as well as powerful companies. Some have argued that the World Trade Organization simply serves the interests of the United States and the European Union. Contrary to their opinion, the organization plays a crucial role in controlling a ravenous quest for profits on the part of rich nations and companies (Lipsey, 2006).Of course, the poor nations are in no condition to impose trade sanctions against developed countries. Disparities do exist. Rich nations are also known to engage in behind the scenes negotiations with the World Trade Organization. Yet, the organization gives a fair chance to the poor countries to voice opposition and form alliances through a major forum especially arranged for the less developed countries. The World Trade Organization is thus an indispensable tool for the poor nations' access to and lawful participation in the global economy ("World Trade Organization").In November 2001, the World Trade Organization agreed in Doha to a new round of trade negotiations aimed at furthering trade liberalization while giving more access to global markets to the poor nations. The Doha Development Agenda was thought by the rich nations to be a means of addressing global poverty. It was to be negotiated in September 2003 at a conference in Cancun, Mexico. The conference, however, turned out as four days of wrangling over farm subsidies between the rich and the poor nations. The talks collapsed and the future of the Doha round was left in jeopardy (Kaplan and Calzonetti, 2005).The most recent conference of the World Trade Organization was held in Hong Kong in 2006. At this meeting, finally an agreement was reached to end all subsidies of agricultural products by 2013. The...

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