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World Trade Organization

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The World Trade Organization (WTO), is an international organization whose primary objective is to promote trade between countries to flow as freely as possible, and thus contribute to economic growth and world development.

The organization, which was born in 1995, is the heiress of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was the provisional agreement on tariffs and trade by which it was governed, since after World War II and until the birth of the WTO, world trade. By not having these provisional agreements of any institutional framework or structure, the need to create this international organization was seen.

WTO Objectives

As we have already mentioned, the main objective of the organization is to promote free trade in order to raise the living standards and income of the world population. This was also the main objective of the GATT. However, two new aspects are needed in the WTO that were not included in the GATT, which are the following:

- The concept of " sustainable development " is introduced, that is, an optimal use of natural resources must be made, while preserving the environment.
- It's recognized that there is a need to increase efforts to increase the participation of less developed countries in world trade.

WTO Functions

To carry out the above objectives, the WTO performs the following functions:

- Administration of trade agreements.
- It works as a framework for new multilateral trade negotiations between member countries.
- It administers the integrated dispute settlement system, that is, when a member government considers that another member government is breaching an agreement or commitment that it had made under the WTO, the organization works to resolve the trade disagreement and ensure compliance with the rules.
- Manages the mechanism for examining trade policies.
- Cooperates with the IMF and the World Bank to achieve greater coherence in global economic policy.

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Since November 2015, the organization has 162 members. In addition, since there is the possibility of not being a member, but if you're an observer of the organization, as observers there are since the end of 2015, 22 States.

Observer quality recognition means that governments or organizations (the IMF, for example also participates as an observer in some WTO bodies) to be able to follow the deliberations for issues that are of interest to them. That is, the observer government can attend meetings and participate in them, but doesn't have the right to vote within the organization.

Instead, members do have the right to vote. The agreements, in case of voting are taken by simple majority (each country one vote), although a two-thirds majority is required for the admission of new members and for amendments to the agreements.


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