World Trade Organization (WTO) is the successor to General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). According to the agreement reached in the Uruguay Round, GATT was converted into a formal international organization called World Trade Organization. WTO came into operation on 1st January 1995. Now, WTO serves as an international framework for world trade. It is being directed by a Ministerial conference which will meet at least once every two years. Its normal business operations will be overseen by General council.
Objectives of W.T.O
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, WTO serves the following objectives:
1. Enhancing the standard of living and income, promoting full employment, expanding production, trade and optimum utilization of world’s resources.
2 Introducing sustainable development, a concept which envisages that development and environment can go together.
3. Taking positive steps to ensure that developing countries, especially the least developed ones, secure a better share in world trade.
Functions of W.T.O
World Trade Organization is a powerful body with enlarged functions. It is envisaged to play a crucial role in the world’s economic affairs.
The essential functions of W.T.O are as follows:
1. Administering and implementing the multilateral and plurilateral trade agreements. Providing the framework for the implementation, administration and operation of plurilateral trade agreements.
2. To provide symposium for dialogues among members nations regarding multilateral trade relations in matters delineated in the agreements.
3. Administering the understanding on rules and procedures governing the settlement of disputes.
4. Seeking to resolve trade disputes.
5. Overseeing national trade policies.
6. Administering the trade review-mechanism in relation to international trade.
7. Cooperating with international institutions such as IMF and IBRD and its affiliated agencies involved in global policy making.
Functions of W.T.O’s General Council
The regular business of WTO is over seen by a General council. The General Council performs the following functions:
1. Supervising the functioning of revised agreements, operations of the revised agreements and ministerial declarations related to goods and services, trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPs) on regular basis.
2. Acting as a dispute settlement body.
3. Serving as a trade review mechanism; and
4. Establishing Goods councils, services councils and TRIPs councils as subsidiary bodies.