World Trade Organization abbreviated (WTO) this An integration organization established in 1995 with the aim of liberalizing international trade and regulating trade and political relations of the organization's member states.
The WTO is formed on the basis of The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), concluded in 1947 and for almost 50 years actually performed the functions of an international organization, but was not an international organization in the legal sense.
The WTO is responsible for the development and implementation of new trade agreements, and also monitors compliance by members of the organization with agreements signed by most countries and ratified by their parliaments.
The WTO headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland, the organization has a staff of about 600 people.
WTO rules provide a number of benefits for developing countries. Currently, developing WTO member countries have a higher relative level of customs and tariff protection of their markets compared to developed ones. Nevertheless, in absolute terms, the total amount of customs and tariff sanctions in developed countries is much higher, as a result of which access to the markets of products from developing countries is seriously limited. WTO rules regulate only trade and economic issues.
The increasing role of world trade forced industrial countries to maintain limited cooperation on customs duties at the international level already in the XIX century.
The global economic crisis that broke out in 1929 and attempts to overcome it in some developed countries by directly protecting the domestic market with high customs duties from foreign imports showed that with increasing volumes of foreign trade, its institutionalization and supranational regulation in a recognized international legal framework are necessary.
The economic theory of comparative advantage, developed at the beginning of the XIX century, served as the economic foundation of the requirements for the liberalization of foreign trade David Ricardo.
The idea of creating an international organization designed to regulate international trade arose mainly through the efforts of the United States and Great Britain in 1944 on The Bretton Woods Conference where were founded The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The third pillar of the new economic order, along with the aforementioned organizations, was supposed to be the creation of International Trade Organization.
For this purpose, an international conference on trade and employment was convened in Havana in 1946, which was supposed to develop the substantive framework of an international agreement on tariff reduction, offer interested countries the charter of this organization, take on a coordinating role in simplifying foreign trade and reducing the customs burden on the way of goods from country to country. In October 1947, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed, which was initially considered only as part of a comprehensive agreement within the framework of the new international trade organization. This agreement, considered as temporary, entered into force on 01.01.1948.
Due to the fact that the USSR refused to be members of the IMF and the IBRD, he was not invited to participate in the Havana Conference. The Soviet government feared that the great influence that the United States had in these organizations and the beginning of confrontation between ideological blocs would not allow the interests of the USSR to be properly taken into account within these organizations.
In subsequent years, the GATT, although in a stripped-down form from the originally conceived, turned out to be a fairly effective system in which the average customsdutyit decreased from 40% by the time the agreement was signed in the mid-forties to 4% in the mid-nineties. In order to reduce direct customs duties and hidden, so-called non-tariff restrictions on the import of products from abroad, GATT regularly held rounds of negotiations between the participating countries.
As a result of long negotiations, an agreement on the establishment of the WTO was signed in 1994 in Marrakech, which entered into force on 01.01.1995.
The participating countries agreed that within the framework of this organization, not only trade in goods will be regulated (which has been the subject of the GATT since 1948), but also in connection with the increasing role of services in post-industrial society and their growing share in world trade (at the beginning of the XXI century - about 20%), it was adopted The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which regulates this area of foreign trade.
Also, within the framework of the Marrakesh Agreement, an Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) was adopted, regulating trade issues of intellectual property rights and being an integral part of the legal foundation of the WTO.
So since 01.01.1995, almost 50 years after the idea of creating an international organization and the existence of a temporary GATT structure regulating foreign trade issues, the WTO has started working.
A powerful reminder that the pursuit of peace and security has led to the creation of today's global economic system. The global rules underlying the multilateral economic system were a direct reaction to the Second World War and a desire to ensure that it would never happen again.
The WTO has 164 members, and upon joining the WTO, the trade of each acceding country should become freer, and this in turn should lead to a higher level of political rights and civil liberties. However, the trend towards democracy is not encouraging. According to a source that measures progress towards democracy, in 2017, 71 WTO member countries experienced a net decrease in the level of political rights and civil liberties, and only 35 countries registered an increase, 2017 was the 12th year in a row when the number of deterioration exceeded the number of improvements. According to the IMF, global GDP growth has averaged almost 4% per year since 1980, including this eleven-year period. Judging by these data, the movement towards prosperity does not keep pace with democracy.
The United States and China have extensive bilateral trade and at the same time strengthen their weapons as a priority in case these weapons may be needed primarily against each other. The United States and China view their main trading partner as a strategic competitor with whom a conflict may arise.
The world of trade has become multipolar. The US is no longer the largest trading country, and taking into account the European Union as a whole, it is only the third largest trader.
For 70 years, the United States has pursued a strategy based on the belief that leading a stable international economic system based on the principles of reciprocity, free market and free trade serves economic and security interests.
Fair and reciprocal trade, investment and knowledge sharing strengthen alliances and partnerships that are necessary to achieve success in today's competitive geopolitical environment. Trade, export promotion, targeted use of foreign aid and modernized development financing instruments can contribute to stability, prosperity and political reforms, as well as the creation of new partnerships based on the principle of reciprocity.
The emphasis is on mutual benefit. Alliances deepen if they are mutual, fair and balanced. Instruments that promote development are still mentioned, and they can lead to political reforms, but not necessarily to peace, the ultimate goal of which is mutual relations.
I would like to believe that the support of the global trading system also contributes to the maintenance of world peace and the strengthening of democratic freedoms
Of course, we cannot be sure that the expansion of trade leading to prosperity guarantees the movement towards democracy in every country, but we know from the experience of 20-gocenturies and from later experience, that the opposite is true –the inability to maintain openness to trade, the subsequent economic downturn and high unemployment, leads to instability and a threat to peace both within countries and internationally.
According to the declaration, the work of the WTO, as well as the GATT before it, is based on the basic principles, including:
For WTO member States, the main objectives of WTO accession are:
The WTO has 164 participants, 160 of them are internationally recognized UN member states, Taiwan (partially recognized), Hong Kong and Macau (2 dependent territories) and the European Union. In order to join the WTO, the State must submit a memorandum through which the WTO considers trade and economic policy concerning the organization.
Negotiations on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization were conducted for 18 years, from 1993 to 2011. Russia joined the World Trade Organization and was included in official list of WTO member countries with the serial number 156, August twenty-second, 2012.