The World Trade Organization and the Environment

By P. K. Rao | Go to book overview

4
WTO Articles of Agreement and Beyond

4.1
Introduction

The WTO came into existence on 1 January 1995. Its charter is entirely institutional and procedural; it draws upon the GATT and its Uruguay Round resolutions in its Annexes for compliance. The WTO is not a mere replacement or succession of the GATT. The WTO Agreement under the Uruguay Round of GATT Trade negotiations provides a 'common institutional framework for the conduct of trade relations among its members' (Article II of the Agreement). The new institution upgraded several working arrangements and rules with considerable clarity, as in the case of dispute resolution, adoption of resolutions and voiding veto powers for members. Some of the 'birth defects' of the GATT were modified in the WTO. The WTO Charter XVI.1 states clearly that GATT's decisions, procedures and customary practices will be guiding principles to the extent feasible. The WTO budget was estimated ( Blackhurst, 1998) at an equivalent of about 10 minutes of the value of the world merchandise trade in mid-1990s.

The WTO remains a rather unique intergovernmental institution governed mainly by a contract between its members. Unlike the GATT, the member countries are not simply 'contracting parties', and the organization is governed by a treaty set up rather than as a 'provisional' organization. The WTO does not describe itself as a 'free trade' institution. Rather, it prefers to be described as a 'system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted competition' ( WTO, 1998).

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The World Trade Organization and the Environment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures x
  • List of Boxes xi
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xiii
  • List of Abbreviations xv
  • Part I - Background 1
  • 1 - Global Trade Regimes 3
  • 1.5 - Concluding Observations 25
  • Appendix II - Gatt 1994 26
  • Appendix III - Regional Trade Regimes 27
  • References 28
  • 2 - Trade, Environment and Development 31
  • References 52
  • 3 - Multilateral Environmental Agreements 55
  • References 70
  • Part II - The World Trade Organization 73
  • 4 - Wto Articles of Agreement and Beyond 75
  • Appendix Ii: Wto Structure 90
  • Appendix Iii: Agreement on Tbt 91
  • References 93
  • 5 - Trade Policies and Environmental Provisions 95
  • Appendix I - Committee on Trade and Environment 114
  • Appendix II Extract of the Sps Agreement 115
  • References 117
  • 6 - Dispute Resolution Mechanisms 119
  • Appendix I - The Dispute Settlement Panel Process 132
  • Appendix II - Trade Disputes on Bananas 133
  • References 136
  • Part III - Policy Implications 139
  • 7 - International Trade and Environment: an Integration 141
  • References 162
  • 8 - New Role for the Wto 165
  • References 176
  • 9 - Towards a Better Future 177
  • References 181
  • Index 183
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