What is the WTO and its Doha Round supposed to achieve? Essay

2012 Words 9 Pages
Out of the ashes of a global economy torn by war and depression when protectionism was prevalent as a security measure, the General Agreement on Tarriffs and Trade (GATT) was formed in 1947. It was designed to lower tariffs and other trade barriers, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis so as to help in economic recovery. Several rules were present in GATT, and were later on carried onto WTO, including:

Most Favored Nation: With some exceptions under strict conditions, countries cannot discriminate against their trading partners. When a trade barrier is lowered or a market is opened for a particular good or service, this has to apply to all other trading partners.

National Treatment: After foreign goods, services or
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This round therefore led to the formation of the WTO, a formally constituted institutional organization.

The formation of the WTO by the Uruguay round agreements was significant in various ways:

The establishment of a formal Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) took international trade a step away from being a system based on power politics to one that was based on rules. As only one party as compared to two in GATT could now establish a panel, and countries in dispute were obligated not to settle it themselves unilaterally, countries were treated equally under WTO regardless of size and power.

It was in this round that another principle arose- Single undertaking. All issues negotiated were treated as a single package without exceptions. Together with the principle of Consensus, this gave small and middle powers greater influence over negotiation and more interest in supporting the round.

The two majors, the EU and US, were highly resistant to liberalization when it came to issues of agriculture and textiles. Long avoided in GATT, these sectors were brought back into the picture with the formation of WTO. Agreements were made to allow full access for textiles and clothing from developing countries, as well as major reductions in tariffs and agricultural subsidies.

All these in totality meant greater inclusion of the developing countries in international trade, and a turnabout in their
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