The World Trade Organization in the New Global Economy

The World Trade Organization in the New Global Economy

Trade and Investment Issues in the New Millennium Round

New Horizons in International Business series

Edited by Alan M. Rugman and Gavin Boyd

Despite the disruption of the multilateral trade talks at Seattle in December 1999, the work of the World Trade Organization (WTO) continues. The trade and investment issues that have been outstanding since the Seattle events are explored in this far reaching book. The distinguished contributors combine several analytical approaches for a comprehensive assessment of the trends, problems and opportunities demanding attention in international trade negotiations.

Chapter 2: Institutional development of the WTO

Gilbert Winham and Anna Lanoszka

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, international economics


Gilbert Winham and Anna Lanoszka 1 THE WTO AS AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION The World Trade Organization (WTO) came into existence on 1 January 1995. It was created as part of the results of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations concluded on 15 December 1993, and adopted on 15 April 1994 by the ministers of 124 governments and the European Communities in a meeting held at Marrakesh, Morocco. The WTO is the first international organization of universal character to be created following the end of the Cold War, and it completed the third pillar of the post-war international economic architecture that was begun at Bretton Woods in 1944. Unlike the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the WTO is invested with a legal personality and organizational presence arguably equivalent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank. The WTO was adopted along with a series of far-reaching trade agreements covering, among other things, agriculture, services, trade rules, industrial tariffs and intellectual property. These agreements have the potential to strengthen substantially the rules-based nature of the trade regime.1 The depth of the new regime, and its historical importance, can be found in a WTO clause described as a ‘sleeper’ by trade lawyer and negotiator Alan Wolff.2 It reads: ‘Each Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements.’3 This clause, plus the depth of the annexed agreements, indicates how much nation states are substituting international policymaking for...

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