International Trading System and the WTO

* 2004-02-20

Goal List

The International Trading System

  1. Promote Free Trade

    1. Immediate action from the developed world (in particular countries/blocs such as the US, EU and Japan) on:

      1. Agriculture – phased removal of all protectionist policies by 2015
      2. Textiles – progressive liberalization leading to full free trade by 2015
    2. Reduce regulatory burden especially on poorer countries. Progressive reductions in duties achieved under GATT have only increased the importance of non-tariff barriers to trade.
  2. Continue and promote establishment of institutions to manage the international trading system:

    1. World Trade Organization (see specific goals for World Trade Organization)
    2. World Intellectual Property Organization
  3. Progressive deregulation and freeing of trade should be mirrored by increased availability of product information to end users and consumers. The surrender of tools for direct intervention must be compensated for by providing consumers and others with the means to make optimal decisions (inclusive of environmental, social, health and other such ‘external’ costs).
  4. Assist poor (LDC) countries to participate in international trading system in following areas:

    1. Participation in trade negotiations, World Trade Organization ministerials and other activities related to the formation of trade agreements.
    2. Ability to start and defend dispute settlement proceedings (in the World Trade Organization)
    3. To this end a special fund to assist poor (LDC) countries to gain adequate representation should be set up and administered by the World Trade Organization.One suggestion for funds needed and their allocation is as follows:
  5. Environment and the international trading system

    1. Explicitly address trade off between promotion of free trade and use of trade policy in promoting and addressing environmental concerns
    2. Use of trade policy for environmental ends should be subject to the test of least trade restrictiveness (i.e. of being the least trade restrictive method of achieving the environmental goal). Methods of achieving environmental goals that do NOT require trade restrictions should always be pursued in preference to those that do require trade restrictions.
    3. Current international trade-enviroment legal framework is NOT well worked out (this refers primarily to dispute settlement within the World Trade Organization and, in particular, GATT). A sounder framework is required with clear ‘statutory’ rules on which a more consistent body of precedent may be built.
  6. Extending the international trading system

    1. Intellectual Property Rights – see comments on World Trade Organization TRIPS agreement below.
    2. MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investments). No introduction of such far reaching changes should be introduced without VERY careful consideration of their consequences. NAFTA’s chapter 11 has shown that rules on investor rights often result in significant consequences unforeseen by the drafters.

World Trade Organization – Institution and Agreements

  1. See goals for international trading system above. Many of these apply directly or indirectly to the World Trade Organization.
  2. It must be remembered that the World Trade Organization is only a club and that it is international trading system members and not the World Trade Organization international trading systemelf that make agreements and policy.
  3. TRIPS agreement is an anomaly which should never have become part of the World Trade Organization. It should be removed and negotiations and agreements about international Intellectual Property Rights should be conducted (if necessary at all – see article on Intellectual Property Rights) under the auspices of a different international institution (such as the World Intellectual Property Organization).
  4. Greater transparency. The World Trade Organization should:

    1. Make all formal information available on international trading system website in a prompt manner (immediately for most documents)
    2. Should promote the opening up trade negotiations to the greatest extent praticable and restrict the use of closed meetings (the ‘green room’ system) at ministerials.

Bibliography and References

  1. [www_thefactz_org] thefactz World Trade Organization Pages
    2. The World Trade Organization: What it is and Why We Need It

2 Responses to “International Trading System and the WTO”

  1. Shenkut Ayele says:

    To what extent are LDCs are successful in the participation of trade negotiations ? And what gaps have been observed till now in this area?

  2. The participation of LDC are successful when governement
    grant a free trade.The gap observed in this area are:small
    extension of free market.Limited flux of capitals,low salaries and wrong intervention politics.

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