The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization responsible for the regulation, supervision, and liberalization of trade between countries. The organization was established in 1995 and has 164 member countries. The main objective of the WTO is to promote free and fair trade through agreements that set rules for international trade.
The WTO has several agreements that govern international trade. These agreements cover a wide range of issues, including tariffs, subsidies, intellectual property rights, and dispute settlement.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is the oldest agreement of the WTO. It was established in 1947 and is designed to regulate international trade by reducing and eliminating tariffs on goods traded between countries. The GATT has been updated several times, with the most recent update being the Uruguay Round, which resulted in the creation of the WTO.
The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) was established in 1994 as part of the Uruguay Round. The AoA aims to reduce trade barriers in the agricultural sector, including subsidies and tariffs. Under the AoA, countries are required to provide market access for agricultural products, and they must reduce their subsidies for agricultural production.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was established in 1994 as part of the Uruguay Round. The TRIPS agreement provides intellectual property protection for trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other forms of intellectual property. The TRIPS agreement requires member countries to provide protection for intellectual property rights, and it also establishes a dispute settlement system for intellectual property disputes.
The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) was established in 1994 as part of the Uruguay Round. The SPS agreement aims to protect human, animal, and plant health by regulating trade in products that may pose a risk to human, animal, or plant health. The SPS agreement requires member countries to ensure that their measures to protect health are based on scientific principles.
The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) was established in 1994 as part of the Uruguay Round. The TBT agreement aims to prevent technical regulations and standards from becoming unnecessary barriers to trade. The agreement requires member countries to ensure that their technical regulations and standards are based on relevant scientific principles, and they do not discriminate against imported products.
Finally, the WTO has a dispute settlement system that provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between member countries. The system includes a panel of experts who review the dispute and issue a ruling. The losing party is required to bring its policies in line with the ruling.
In conclusion, the main agreements of the WTO cover a wide range of issues related to international trade. These agreements aim to promote free and fair trade by reducing trade barriers and providing a mechanism for resolving disputes. The WTO plays a critical role in promoting global economic growth and development.