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WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION : 

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION

INTRODUCTION : 

INTRODUCTION Organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. International organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Commenced on January 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.

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The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries it provides a framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants' adherence to WTO agreements which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986-1994). Its main function is to ensure trade flows as smoothly, predictably & freely as possible. Heart of the multilateral trading system – is the WTO’s.

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Agreements, negotiated and signed by a large majority of the world’s trading nations, and ratified in their parliaments. Goal is to improve the welfare of the peoples of the member countries. WTO is currently trying to persist with trade negotiations called “ DOHA ROUND/ DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA” launched in 2001 – to enhance the equitable participation of poorer countries – majority of the worlds population.

HISTORY : 

HISTORY WTO Predecessor, GATT – established after world war II – in the wake of the new multilateral institutions dedicated to the International economic cooperation – IMF, World Bank, ITO. GATT was only multilateral instrument governing from 1948 – 1995 Total number of rounds – 7 After the 7 rounds, in uruguay round, official signing of the WTO regime – April 1994 – ministerial meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco – Marrakesh agreement. GATT 1994 is not however the only legally binding agreement included via final act at Marrakesh. 60 agreements, annexes, decisions and understandings was adopted in GATT 1994.

AGREEMENT PARTS : 

AGREEMENT PARTS The Agreement Establishing the WTO Goods and investment — the Multilateral Agreements on Trade in Goods including the GATT 1994 and the Trade Related Investment Measures Services — the General Agreement on Trade in Services Intellectual property — the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Dispute settlement (DSU) Reviews of governments' trade policies (TPRM)

OBJECTIVES : 

OBJECTIVES Trade without discrimination To set and enforce rules for international trade, To provide forum for negotiating and monitoring the international trade To resolve trade disputes, To increase the transparency of decision-making processes To cooperate with other major international economic institutions involved in global economic management To help developing countries benefit fully from the global trading system.

SCOPE OF WTO : 

SCOPE OF WTO The WTO states that its aims are to increase international trade by promoting lower trade barriers and providing a platform for the negotiation of trade and to their business. FUNCTIONS OF WTO WTO shall facilitate the implementation, Administration and operation of the plurilateral trade agreement. WTO shall provide a forum for the negotiation among its members concerning their multilateral trade relations WTO shall administer the understanding on rules and procedures governing the settlement of disputes

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WTO shall administer the trade policy review mechanism and WTO shall co operate as appropriate with IMF AND IBRD and with the affiliated agencies WTO administers the 28 agreements contained in the final act and the no of plurilateral agreements and the government procurement through various councils and committees It oversees the implementations of issues related to tariff cut an non tariff measures agreed to in the trade negotiations It examines the trade regimes of the individual member countries WTO provides dispute settlement courts and panel It acts as a management consultant for world trade It provides technical co-operations and training It can be used as a forum for continuous negotiations It co-opts with the international institutions like IMF,IBRD etc for making global economic policy And it oversees the national trade policies of member governments.

STRUCTURE OF WTO : 

STRUCTURE OF WTO Ministerial Conference-policy and strategy making body General Council-executive body of WTO-disputes settlement and trade related policy Councils-trade in goods , trade in services and trade related aspects of intellectual property bodies Committees and Management Bodies-committee on trade and development, balance of payment and budget, finance and administrations The WTO has 153 members, accounting for over 97% of world trade. Around 30 others are negotiating membership. The WTO’s top level decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference which meets at least once every two years.

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Below this is the General Council (normally ambassadors and heads of delegation in Geneva, but sometimes officials sent from members’ capitals) which meets several times a year in the Geneva headquarters. The General Council also meets as the Trade Policy Review Body and the Dispute Settlement Body. At the next level, the GOODS COUNCIL, SERVICES COUNCIL, & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (TRIPS) COUNCIL report to the General Council. Numerous SPECIALIZED COMMITEES, WORKING GROUPS and WORKING PARTIES deal with the individual agreements and other areas such as the environment, development, membership applications and regional trade agreements.

PRINCIPLES OF TRADING SYSTEM : 

PRINCIPLES OF TRADING SYSTEM The WTO discussions should follow these fundamental principles of trading. 1. A trading system should be free of discrimination in the sense that one country cannot privilege a particular trading partner above others within the system, nor can it discriminate against foreign products and services. 2. A trading system should tend toward more freedom, that is, toward fewer trade barriers (tariffs and non-tariff barriers). 3. A trading system should be predictable, with foreign companies and governments reassured that trade barriers will not be raised arbitrarily and that markets will remain open. 4. A trading system should tend toward greater competition. 5. A trading system should be more accommodating for less developed countries, giving them more time to adjust, greater flexibility, and more privileges.

Subjects of WTO : 

Subjects of WTO 1 . Agriculture 2. Services 3. Non-agriculture 4. Intellectual Property Rights 5. Trade investment, competition, policy, government procurement and trade facilities 6. Trade rules 7. Dispute settlements 8. Trade and environment 9. Trade, finance and debt 10. Trade and technology transfer 11. Electronic commerce

ACCESSION AND MEMBERSHIP : 

ACCESSION AND MEMBERSHIP Country wishing to join submits an application to the general council and has to describe all the aspects of trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO agreements. Application is examined by the working party open to all interested WTO members. Working party determines the terms and conditions of entry into the WTO for the applicant nation . Final Phase – bilateral negotiations between the applicant nation and other member countries regarding the concessions and commitments on tarrif levels and market access for goods and services. After talks, working party sends to the ministerial conference on accession package. Once the general council or ministerial conference approves of the terms of accession, the applicant's parliament must ratify the Protocol of Accession before it can become a member.

MEMBER NATIONS OF WTO : 

MEMBER NATIONS OF WTO Albania, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon The Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-BissauGuyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy,Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis , Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland,Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia,Zimbabwe

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT : 

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT Dispute settlement is regarded by the WTO as the central pillar of the multilateral trading system, and as a "unique contribution to the stability of the global economy". WTO members have agreed that, if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules, they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally. The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves the DSB panels, the Appellate Body, the WTO Secretariat, arbitrators, independent experts and several specialized institutions.

IMPACT OF WTO IN GLOBALIZATION : 

IMPACT OF WTO IN GLOBALIZATION WTO plays an important role in the principle of trade without discrimination in the free market trade. Most-favoured-nation (MFN): treating other people equally.  National treatment Free trade - gradually, through negotiation Predictability - through binding and transparency Promoting fair competition Encouraging development and economic reform

WTO AND INDIA : 

WTO AND INDIA India is a founder member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1947 and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO), which came into effect on 1.1.95 after the conclusion of the Uruguay Round (UR) of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. India’s participation in an increasingly rule based system in the governance of international trade is to ensure more stability and predictability, which ultimately would lead to more trade and prosperity for itself and the 134 other nations which now comprise the WTO. India automatically avails national treatment for its exports to all WTO Members.

WTO AND INDIA : 

WTO AND INDIA INDIA’s ranking in leading exporters and importer in world merchandise trade,2007 is 26 , & in leading exporters and importer in world commercial services 2007 is 9. This fourth Trade Policy Review of India has greatly improved our understanding of India’s trade and trade related policies and the challenges it faces in sustaining, and indeed improving, its economic growth. Members all agreed that India’s economic performance has been impressive.

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCES : 

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCES The topmost decision-making body of the WTO. It meets every two years. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements. The inaugural ministerial conference was held in Singapore in 1996. The second ministerial conference was held in Geneva in Switzerland. The third conference in Seattle, Washington ended in failure.

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCES : 

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCES The fourth ministerial conference was held in Doha in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar The Doha Development Round was launched at the conference and it is upto date running. The fifth ministerial conference was held in Mexico. The sixth WTO ministerial conference was held in Hong Kong from 13-18 December 2005. The seventh WTO ministerial conference session was held in Geneva from 30 November-3 December 2009.

TRIPS AGREEMENT : 

TRIPS AGREEMENT In becoming Members of the WTO, countries undertake to adhere to the 18 specific agreements annexed to the Agreement establishing the WTO. Of these agreements, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is expected to have the greatest impact on the pharmaceutical sector and access to medicines. The TRIPS Agreement has been in force since 1995 and is to date the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property. The TRIPS Agreement introduced global minimum standards for protecting and enforcing nearly all forms of intellectual property rights (IPR), including those for patents. International conventions prior to TRIPS did not specify minimum standards for patents.

TRIPS AGREEMENT : 

TRIPS AGREEMENT At the time that negotiations began, over 40 countries in the world did not grant patent. The TRIPS Agreement now requires all WTO members, with few exceptions, to adapt their laws to the minimum standards of IPR protection for pharmaceutical products. TRIPS Agreement also introduced detailed obligations for the enforcement of intellectual property rights. TRIPS also contains provisions that allow a degree of flexibility and sufficient room for countries to accommodate their own patent and intellectual property systems and developmental needs It allows countries to have a certain amount of freedom in modifying their regulations and, various options exist for them in formulating their national legislation to ensure a proper balance between the goal of providing incentives for future inventions of new drugs and the goal of affordable access to existing medicines.

KEY PROVISIONS OF TRIPS : 

KEY PROVISIONS OF TRIPS PATENT PROTECTION The TRIPS Agreement requires WTO Members to provide a patent protection for a minimum term of 20 years from the filing date of a patent application for any invention including for a pharmaceutical product or process. Prior to the TRIPS Agreement, patent duration was significantly shorter in many countries. For example, both developed and developing countries provided for patent terms ranging from 15 to 17 years, whilst in certain developing countries, patents were granted for shorter terms of 5 to 7 years. The TRIPS Agreement also requires countries to provide patent protection for both processes and products, in all fields of technology.

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Before TRIPS, many countries provided only process — but not product — patents. Product patents provide for absolute protection of the product, whereas process patents provide protection in respect of the technology and the process or method of manufacture. PROTECTION OF DATA SUBMITTED FOR THE REGISTRATION OF PHARMACEUTICALS As a condition for permitting the sale or marketing of a pharmaceutical product, drug regulatory authorities require pharmaceutical companies to submit data demonstrating the safety, quality and efficacy of the product. The TRIPS Agreement requires that WTO Members protect undisclosed test data, submitted to drug regulatory authorities for the purposes of obtaining marketing approval, against unfair commercial use. The TRIPS Agreement provides for transition periods, permitting developing countries additional time to bring national legislation and practices into conformity with TRIPS provisions.

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There are three main transition periods. First was the 1995–2000 transition period, at the end of which countries were required to implement the TRIPS Agreement. The 2000–2005 transition period allowed certain countries to delay providing product patent protection in the areas of technology that had not been so protected at the time of the TRIPS Agreement coming into operation in that country. These countries were allowed a further 5 years to put in place a product patent regime for technologies and products, which they had not thus far provided patent protection, such as pharmaceuticals and agro-chemicals. The third transition period allows least-developed countries (LDCs) until 2006 to implement their obligations under the TRIPS Agreement in view of their economic, financial and administrative constraints

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