WTO and Its Mandate : A Brief Overview for Kerala PSC Aspirant

A Brief Overview about WTO for Kerala PSC

WTO (World Trade Organization) and Its Mandate

The World Trade Organization or WTO came into being on
January 1 , 1995 at Geneva as a part of Marakkas agreement , which was signed on 15 April, 1994. It succeeded GATT.

The objective of WTO :

The following objective are mentioned in the preamble of WTO Charter :
1. To raise the standard of people throughout the world ;
2. To ensure broad and concrete increase in demands of goods and total employment ;
3. To increase the production and trade of goods ;
4. To promote the production and trade of services ;
5. To subscribe to the concept of Sustainable Development ;
6. To promote the conservation and preservation of environment

The Function of WTO :

In order to achieve the above objective , the WTO performs the following function :
1. TO Provide facilities for the execution , administration and conduct of world trade agreement and other multilateral and plurilateral agreements
2. To act as a forum for consultation among member states with respect to any matter related to trade and tariff ;
3. To administer rules and processes related to settlement of disputes among member states ;
4. To enforce the rule and provisions related to Trade Policy Review Mechanism ;
5. TO cooperate with IMS and World Bank for ensuring coherence in the formulation of global economic policies;
6. To ensure the appropriate utilization of world resources.

The Administrative Structure of WTO :

At the end of 2015,164 countries have become members states of WTO. It should be noted that WTO is not an agency of UNO like IMF and World Bank , but has its independent status.The mandate of WTO is also broad as it includes some new concerns like the promotion of sustainable development and better utilization of global resources, GATT.

The Ministerial Conference :

The highest decision-making body in WTO is Ministerial Conference , consisting of Trade Ministers of member states ; which meets once after every two years . All the major decisions of WTO are taken by this body . The rounds of trade negotiations are also under the consideration of the Ministerial Conference.
So far the WTO has held the following ministerial Conference as per the details given below :

# Date Host City
1st 9–13 December 1996  Singapore
2nd 18–20 May 1998  Geneva, Switzerland
3rd 30 November – 3 December 1999  Seattle, United States
4th 9–14 November 2001  Doha, Qatar
5th 10–14 September 2003  Cancún, Mexico
6th 13–18 December 2005  Hong Kong
7th 30 November – 2 December 2009  Geneva, Switzerland
8th 15–17 December 2011  Geneva, Switzerland
9th 3–6 December 2013  Bali, Indonesia
10th 15–18 December 2015  Nairobi, Kenya

reference: wto.org

General Council :

The General Council is responsible for the conduct of affairs of WTO . It consists of one permanent Representative from each member state. The routine administrative work of WTO is performed by the Director General , who is elected by General Council for a period of four years.

Permanent Committees :

The major work of WTO is conducted by various permanent committees .The two important committees are :

1. Dispute Settlement Body – DSB , which considers the complaints of member states regarding the violation of trade rule .

2. Trade Policy Review Body ( TPRB ) , which is responsible for the review of trade policies of member states. It reviews the trade policies of major trading countries once in two years .

Two other important committees are Council for Trade in Services and Council for Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights.

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