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Wto And China Essay

3699 words - 15 pages

1.0 Introduction:Since its inception in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has regularly been in the news. There have been optimistic stories of expanding WTO membership that emphasize that freer trade generates numerous benefits for consumers. Newspapers report on the details of WTO entry negotiations for important countries like China and remind us of the gains from trade.At other times, media reports might lead us to believe that disputes among WTO members are about to tear the organization apart. Disagreements between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) over everything from U.S. corporate taxation, to genetically modified organisms, to special steel tariffs make headlines worldwide.The WTO began life on 1 January 1995, but its trading system is half a century older. Since 1948, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) had provided the rules for the system. (The second WTO ministerial meeting, held in Geneva in May 1998, included a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the system.) It did not take long for the General Agreement to give birth to an unofficial, de facto international organization, also known informally as GATT. Over the years GATT evolved through several rounds of negotiations. The last and largest GATT round, was the Uruguay Round which lasted from 1986 to 1994 and led to the WTO's creation. Whereas GATT had mainly dealt with trade in goods, the WTO and its agreements now cover trade in services, and in traded inventions, creations and designs (Hoekman et al; 2001).Over three-quarters of WTO members are developing or least-developed countries. WTO claims to provide special provisions for the least-developed members are included in all the WTO agreements. WTO's call its overriding objective is to help trade flow smoothly, freely, fairly and predictably by administering trade agreements by acting as a forum for trade negotiations. Its objectives also include settling trade disputes, reviewing national trade policies, assisting developing countries in trade policy issues through technical assistance and training programs and cooperating with other international organizations.But WTO critics worldwide, remember the violent anti-globalization protests in Genoa, Seattle, etc., say that WTO is actually a front to protect the interests of the industrialized countries and their multinational companies to have a ready access to markets in the developing world. The critics also feel that WTO's agenda - implementation of its agreements and the dispute settlement mechanism - advance the interests of the developed countries with little regard to the interests of the developing countries in general and least developed ones in particular. The later are marginalized in the world trade system as despite assurances of fair and equitable trade their exports remain subjected to tariff escalations on one pretext or the other in the developed world. Secondly, and as important, the WTO has tried to come up with perfect trade rules in...

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