The official World Trade Organisation web site, defines the WTO as “the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations . . . [through] helping producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers (to) conduct their business”1. It was formed in 1995 after growing out of and extending the institution of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. As of the thirtieth of November 2000, the WTO has 140 member-countries, over three-quarters of which are developing or least-developed countries. As the WTO implies, its current role is to serve as the lubrication for the joints in the engine of globalisation; although just how effective and fair this lubrication may be, is still a point of great contention.
The WTO preaches that its purpose and effect are to “improve the welfare of the people of the member countries”2, and it claims that this is achieved by administering trade agreements, and monitoring and handling trade disputes. This essay will test the truth in this statement, of whether or not the actions taken by the WTO have failed to further enhance the welfare of the people of its member countries, and if so, whether the WTO therefore needs to be either reformed or even abolished.
The criteria by which I will assess this truth, takes into account the three major arguments that are held against the WTO, with regard to its affect on the welfare of the people of its member countries. One of these arguments is that the international rules the WTO authors, consistently favour multinational corporations at the expense of workers and small farmers. Another argument is that by removing trade barriers as the WTO seeks to achieve, jobs are ‘exported’ to lower labour cost countries where the standards to which the labourers are subjected, are below what is internationally accepted. The final main argument against the WTO’s aims that is raised, is that if countries cannot make their industries globally competitive, they will experience a decline in their people’s standards of living. Judging the results of these arguments, will allow me to decide whether or not the WTO is in need of reform, abolishment, or if it should continue without alteration.
The basic premise of the WTO is to open up trade between nations, and one of its potential disadvantages is that its opera...
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...) “Slow out of the blocs” The Australian February 1 p.28.
Mitchell, A. (2001) “Let community have its say” The Australian Financial Review March 7 p.6.
Steketee, M. (2000) “Unhappy days are here again” The Australian June 17 p.4.
The Australian (2000) “Fabric of the fair go ripped to shreds” June 17 p.4.
Ebeling, R. (2000) Free Trade Versus Protectionism
S-11 Online (2001) Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ
Sirico, R. (2000) Free Trade and Human Rights: The Moral Case For Engagement
Wills, J. (2000) Multinationals and the Poverty Trap
WTO Online(1) (1999) 10 Benefits of the WTO Trading System
WTO Online(2) (1999) 10 Benefits of the WTO Trading System
WTO Online(3) (1999) What is the WTO?
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