Features of the WTO and Different Arguments


The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization that manages trade relationships and international trade among all its member nations. It was formed in January 1995 and it establishes rules and policies that member nations should follow. The rules reduce trade barriers amongst member nations and create a platform for negotiations. WTO also enforces the rules and ensures that any country that goes against them is punished as per the requirements.

The organization is currently planning to carry out some negotiations in favor of poor countries. WTO has been Criticized by many especially economists, humanitarian groups, environmentalists, and others. However, there are many other arguments that are in favor of WTO. This paper will seek to analyze the origin, purpose, and goals of WTO in addition to criticism and arguments in favor of the organization.


The World Trade Organization was formed on January 1, 1995. It replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which had been formed in 1947 (Christian & Thomas, 2007, p.152). GATT had been formed to reduce tariffs on goods to facilitate global trade amongst its member countries.

The negotiations by GATT gave one nation privileged trading rights than the other. WTO has applied negotiations that it developed from Uruguay round of GATT negotiations, which were drafted between 1986 and 1994 (Fergusson, 2007, p.13). Many countries joined WTO and greater achievements have been made through the WTO negotiations. The organization has over one hundred and forty members today who participate in drafting the rules that can be used to enhance global trade amongst member countries.


WTO was formed to oversee a smooth, free, and predictable global trade. This is achieved by the set of rules that are developed and enforced to ensure that global trade amongst member nations in free and fair (James, 2002, p.164). It also aims at creating economic peace and stability in the world by ensuring that all countries that have ratified the WTO rules in their individual countries becomes part of a multilateral system.

The local trade riles in a country that is a member should never contradict those of the WTO. The ratification of these rules means that a country that is ready to join WTO must be ready to apply the rules by it in its local companies. Application of these riles make it very easy for an organization to have several offices in different countries that are members of the WTO. This way, the organization is able to meet its purpose.

Current Goals

The WTO ahs several goals that it wants to achieve in the near future. The members of the organization especially the United States trade reforms in the agricultural sector that will help in global food security (Bhagwati, 2005, p.17). This can be achieved by elimination of export subsidies, sustainability cut, reform state trading enterprise, clarify rules on domestic subsidies, and application of biotechnology.

The reforms will help in development of a more comprehensive, open, transparent and strong world trading system. The reforms will also help in rewarding low-cost producers; encourage specialization in agricultural and non-agricultural production, help farmers produce and promote efficient resource allocation, and help them retain income. Consumers on the other hand will enjoy using low price agricultural products that have high quality and countries with food shortages will have access to food from other countries.

Arguments against WTO

One of the areas where WTO has being criticized is in its aims. This is especially in the area of free trade where economists and individuals in development studies feel that free trade and deregulation are not good for developing countries. They argue that free trade favors developed countries and exploit the developing countries. Environmentalists also feel that deregulation and free trade affects the environment negatively and does not help in protection and preservation of the environment (Duncan & Michael, 2000, p.13).

In its structure and practices, there is criticism that the structure is undemocratic in that most of the top seats are help by individuals from developed countries (John, 2006, p.111). On the other hand, the developed countries dominate the developing countries in all the activities that take place. The organization claims to open up markets for the developing countries but the practices benefit the developed countries than the developing countries (Randy, & Jasper, 2007, p.1328).

Arguments for WTO

One of the arguments for WTO is that it helps countries liberalize their economies by removing trade quotas and subsidies and limiting public spending. In promotes international trade and countries especially the developing countries find markets for their products in wealthier societies (William, 2004, p.264). WTO helps in strong economic growth for developing countries that join it. The developed set of rules helps in fighting government corruption because those countries that join it are worried of exposure and isolation for cases of corruption.


The World trade Organization was formed on January 1, 1995 replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that had been formed in 1947. It ensures that trade between member countries is smooth, free, and predictable. Its current goals include elimination of export subsidies, sustainability cut, reforming state trading enterprise, clarifying rules on domestic subsidies, and application of biotechnology to improve the agricultural sector and enhance global food security. The organization has been criticized especially that it benefits developed countries more than the developing countries.

Reference List

Bhagwati, J. (2005). Reshaping the WTO. Far Eastern Economic Review, 162 (22): 28. Pp: 12-23.

Christian, B. & Thomas, W. M. (2007). Global Institutions and Responsibilities: Achieving Global Justice. London: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

Duncan, B. & Michael, G. (2000) International Trade and Climate Change Policies. New York: Earthscan.

Fergusson, I. F. (2007). The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues. Congressional Research Service, pp. 4.

James, H. M. (2002) Regional Trade Agreements in the GATT-WTO: Article XXIV and the Internal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.162-165.

John, H. J. (2006). Sovereignty, the WTO and changing Fundamentals of international Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, P.110-112.

Randy, S., & Jasper, W. (2007). Potential Challenges to U.S. Farm Subsidies in the WTO. Congressional Research Service. Pp. 1324-1336.

William, C R. (2004). Conclusion: Trade Policy and Global Poverty. Peterson Institute.

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