International Trade: WTO

The current world globalization has led to the revolution of the world trade. Many global markets including those of the third world countries have been forced to liberalize their markets so as to be at per with the worlds greatest economies when it comes to international trade. The World Trade Organization grew from GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). This organization lasted from (1948-1994) International trade flourished at the expense of national regulations. Whereas GATT was not concerned with literal goods in trade the WTO was inclined towards agricultural subsidies, banking, investment, telecommunications and intellectual property rights.

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Kent Jones posits two competing views of the world trading organization in the world today. Members of the WTO are supposed to comprehend the basic agreement of the organization. This agreement is supposed to consist of binding give-and-take market that is mutual. Access to this market can be gained through multilateral negotiation that is supported by a system of trade policy rules and settling disputes. Efforts to bring in social chapters into the WTO will lead to compromise in the central agreement. The World Trade Organization is supposed to provide the necessary environment for free and efficient trade without bias. To some extent this is not always the case as WTO has been known to be responsible for authorizing the use of trade sanctions. These trade sanctions are imposed to pursue non trade goals that can sometimes diminish the value of WTO to its members and undermine the global trading system. Agreements arrived at in the WTO together with its rules can be reconciled with the environmental goals, the perfection of labor standards and the promotion of human rights through the amplification of International organizations devoted to these issues. Political

Impediments can be removed by Governments efforts to promote new global institutions and international agreements which can lead to trade liberalization.

To a certain extent WTO has shortchanged some of the members signed to this organization which have come up protesting that the organization has trampled on laws that protect the poor, environment and health so as to press forward the agenda and ambitions of big companies.(Philippe Legrain 2000). A case in point is the Seattle summit that was stormed by the masses that accused the WTO of neglecting the poor. Protesters demanded that the WTO Should be destroyed since it is harming the same people it is supposed to be protecting. It was purported that international trade regulations were being bent to favor the few who were already rich (BBC News 2008)

Globalization is in fact, the opposite of what it claims to be. Inequality and poverty is accelerating at an alarming rate in all parts of the world. The UN in its report has in fact agreed that globalization has brought with it enormous inequalities. Ideologies and policies of economic globalization have been responsible for destruction of livelihoods. Most of the people are left without homes, hungry and worse still poverty stricken. Basic amenities such as public health, fresh water, education sanitation and transport have become inaccessible. Some of these global economic policies responsible for this mess include free trade. Deregulation, privatization and structural adjustment programmes that were introduced in third world countries. (Jerry Mander 2001). The so-called Economic globalization seems only to be serving and benefiting the already wealthy people and nations. Wealth that is controlled by the few millionaires in the world continues to increase. Globalization was supposed to make wealth generated to trickle down to the poor person this is not the case as the UN estimated that from 1986 -2000 the amount of wealth at the top actually quadrupled. The poor nations of the world today have been hit hard by the negative effect of globalization. Most of these nations owe the World Bank and the IMF huge sums of money. Instead of globalization generating wealth it has plunged these countries into a deep debt crisis.

The movie Black coffee Part 2 gives a picture of how the wealthy nations and multinational corporations are oppressing the coffee producing countries in Latin America through liberal trade. It shows how the WTO by way of free trade policy has benefited the wealthy corporations at the expense of the poor Latin America by imposing prices. Through free trade International corporations force the poor countries to compete against one another unfairly. This is unjust as the corporations end up selling the coffee in the world market at a lower price than that of the producing countries. As a result the economies of these countries end up suffering as they do not profit fully from the coffee exports.

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WTO has tried to discredit the critics who say that there is conflict between agreements signed by the organization and international environmental agreements. Critics have stood their ground but saying that WTO agreements have destabilized important environmental preserve.

Shrybman for example has criticized the UN protocol of Biological Diversity. In 2006 140 nations gathered in Colombia to complete the Biosafety protocol. This was as an outcome of seven years to International effort to protect the general public from potential health hazards and threat from genetically modified organisms. This protocol was aimed at giving governments the sole right of either accepting or rejecting consignment that contains genetically modified foods. It is unfortunate that a group several, exporters of genetically modified food from the US frustrated this effort from being adopted citing that there were conflicting trade obligations under the WTO. In addition, the US itself has been affected by, for instance its laws on endangered species and environment have experienced damage. In 1996 WTO passed that the US should allow Venezuelan and Brazilian gasoline with high amounts of pollutants into its territory. The WTO nullified the 1990 US clean Air regulation on the grounds that it constituted unfair trade barrier.

References

  1. BBC News. Protesters harm the poor. 1999.
  2. Black Coffee film, Part 2: Gold in your cup. The economy of the community is based on coffee production_ nothing else.
  3. Jerry Mander, Debi Baker and David Korten. Does Globalization Help the Poor? 2001. Web.
  4. Kent Jones. Cambridge Journals. The WTO core agreement, non-trade issues and institutional integrity.
  5. Kent Jones. Who’s afraid of the WTO? (pp. 66-91) and (pp 105-115). Oxford University Press. 2003.
  6. Philippe Legrain. Prospect Magazine. “Against Globaphobia”, 2000.
  7. Silja J.A. Talvi. Mother Jones. World Trade or World Domination? 1999.
  8. Steven shrybman. WTO (The world trade organization) A citizen’s guide, second edition, Chapter 1,2,3,5 (pp 46-49),6,and 8. James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2001.

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