World Trade Organization (WTO)

World Trade Organization

World Trade Organization (WTO), international organization established in 1995 as a result of the final round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations, called the Uruguay Round. The WTO is responsible for monitoring national trading policies, handling trade disputes, and enforcing the GATT agreements, which are designed to reduce tariffs and other barriers to international trade and to eliminate discriminatory treatment in international commerce. In an effort to promote international agreements, WTO negotiations are conducted in closed sessions; many outsiders have strongly criticized such meetings as antidemocratic. Unlike GATT, the WTO is a permanent body but not a specialized agency of the United Nations; it has far greater power to mediate trade disputes between member countries and assess penalties. In the Uruguay Round, agreement was reached to reduce tariffs on manufactured goods by one third. Under the WTO, subsidies and quotas are to be reduced on imported farm products, automobiles, and textiles, which were not covered by GATT; there is also freer trade in banking and other services and greater worldwide protection of intellectual property. Negotiations to eliminate subsidies and protections for agricultural products, however, have proved to be a stumbling block. The Doha Round of talks, launched in 2001, have been deadlocked over such subsidies; the round was originally scheduled to be finished in Jan., 2005. The WTO is headquartered in Geneva and also holds international ministerial conferences; it has 159 members.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Reflections on the World Trade Organization and the Prospects for Its Future
Mercurio, Bryan.
Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 10, No. 1, May 2009
WTO Winners and Losers: The Trade and Development Disconnect
Lewis, Meredith Kolsky.
Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol. 39, No. 1, Fall 2007
The World Trade Organization as a Structure of Liberty
McGinnis, John O.
Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 28, No. 1, Fall 2004
The World Trade Organization and the Millennium Development Goals: The Role of Multilateral Trade Negotiations in Achieving Food Security for the World's Most Vulnerable Populations
Bay, Benjamin J.
Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol. 43, No. 1, Fall 2011
Between Law and Diplomacy: The Social Contexts of Disputing at the World Trade Organization
Joseph A. Conti.
Stanford University Press, 2011
Why Adjudicate? Enforcing Trade Rules in the WTO
Christina L. Davis.
Princeton University Press, 2012
The World Trade Organization Millennium Round: Freer Trade in the Twenty-First Century
Klaus Günter Deutsch; Bernhard Speyer.
Routledge, 2001
Who's Afraid of the WTO?
Kent Jones.
Oxford University Press, 2004
World Trade Organization (WTO) Negotiations between Developing and Developed Countries: An Evolutionary Game Theory Approach
Lee, Chen-Kuo.
International Journal of Management, Vol. 28, No. 3, September 2011
The WTO as a Node of Global Governance: Economic Regulation and Human Rights Discourses
Picciotto, Sol.
Law, Social Justice and Global Development Journal, Annual 2007
The Doha Declaration and Beyond: Giving a Voice to Non-Trade Concerns within the WTO Trade Regime
DiMatteo, Larry A.; Dosanjh, Kiren; Frantz, Paul L.; Bowal, Peter; Stoltenberg, Clyde.
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 36, No. 1, January 2003
China and the Long March to Global Trade: The Accession of China to the World Trade Organization
Sylvia Ostry; Alan S. Alexandroff; Rafael Gomez.
RoutledgeCourzon, 2003
The WTO and Sustainable Development
Gary P. Sampson.
United Nations University Press, 2005
The Role of the World Trade Organization in Global Governance
Gary P. Sampson.
United Nations University Press, 2001
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