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Реферат: World trade organisation

International organizations and movements. Their role in the promotion of
peace, global cooperation and mutual understanding
                            WORLD TRADE ORGANISTAION                            
Matveev Andrey 11 “A”
Center of Education №1816
                                      2002                                      
                            WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION                            
Nobody will deny if I say that in our modern world it is very important to
control the relationship between different countries. There are different
organizations nowadays. They control different aspects of our everyday life.
I would like to speak about world trade organization. It deals with the
global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that
trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
First of all I would like to give some facts about the creation and location
of WTO.
     Location: Geneva, Switzerland
     Established: 1 January 1995
     Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986–94)
     Membership: 134 countries (as of February 1999)
     Budget: 122 million Swiss francs for 1999
     Secretariat staff: 500
     Head: Director-general
     Functions:
• Administering WTO trade agreements
• Forum for trade negotiations
• Handling trade disputes
• Monitoring national trade policies
• Technical assistance and training for developing countries
• Cooperation with other international organizations
The World Trade Organization came into being in 1995. One of the youngest of
the international organizations, the WTO is the successor to the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in the wake of the Second
World War. So while the WTO is still young, the multilateral trading system
that was originally set up under GATT is already 50 years old. The system
celebrated its golden jubilee in   Geneva on 19 May 1998, with many heads of
state and government leaders attending. The past 50 years have seen an
exceptional growth in world trade. Merchandise exports grew on average by 6%
annually. Total trade in 1997 was 14-times the level of 1950. GATT and the
WTO have helped to create a strong and prosperous trading system contributing
to unprecedented growth. The system was developed through a series of trade
negotiations, or rounds, held under GATT. The first rounds dealt mainly with
tariff reductions but later negotiations included other areas such as anti-
dumping and non-tariff measures. The latest round—the 1986-94. Uruguay
Round—led to the WTO’s creation. The negotiations did not end there. Some
continued after the end of the Uruguay Round. In February 1997 agreement was
reached on telecommunications services, with 69 governments agreeing to wide-
ranging liberalization measures that went beyond those agreed in the Uruguay
Round. In the same year 40 governments successfully concluded negotiations
for tariff-free trade in information technology products, and 70 members
concluded a financial services deal covering more than 95% of trade in
banking, insurance, securities and financial information. At the May 1998
ministerial meeting in Geneva, WTO members agreed to study trade issues
arising from global electronic commerce. The next ministerial conference is
due to be held in the United States in late 1999. In 2000, new talks are due
to start on agriculture and services and possibly a range of other issues.
     FUNCTIONS
The WTO’s overriding objective is to help trade flow smoothly, freely, fairly
and predictably. It does this by:
• Administering trade agreements
• Acting as a forum for trade negotiations
• Settling trade disputes
• Reviewing national trade policies
• Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through technical
assistance and training programs
• Cooperating with other international organizations
     STRUCTURE
The WTO has more than 130 members, accounting for over 90% of world trade. Over
30 others are negotiating membership. Decisions are made by the entire
membership. This is typically by consensus. A majority vote is also possible
but it has never been used in the WTO, and was extremely rare under the WTO’s
predecessor, GATT. The WTO’s agreements have been ratified in all members’
parliaments. The WTO’s top level decision-making body is the Ministerial
Conference which meets at least once every two years. 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 and Intellectual Property (TRIPS)
Council report to the General Council. Numerous specialized committees,
working groups and working parties deal with the individual
agreements and other areas such as the environment, development, membership
applications and regional trade agreements. The first Ministerial Conference in
Singapore in 1996 added three new working groups to this structure. They deal
with the relationship between trade and investment, the interaction between
trade and competition policy and transparency in government procurement. At the
second Ministerial Conference in   Geneva in 1998 ministers decided that the
WTO would also study the area of electronic commerce, a task to be shared out
among existing councils and committees.
     SECRETARIAT
The WTO Secretariat, based in Geneva, has around 500 staff and is headed by a
director-general. It does not have branch offices outside Geneva. Since
decisions are taken by the members themselves, the Secretariat does not have
the decision-making role that other international bureaucracies are given.
The Secretariat’s main duties are to supply technical support for the various
councils and committees and the ministerial conferences, to provide technical
assistance for developing countries, to analyze world trade, and to explain
WTO affairs to the public and media.
The Secretariat also provides some forms of legal assistance in the dispute
settlement process and advises governments wishing to become members of the
WTO.
The annual budget is roughly 122 million Swiss francs. How can you ensure
that trade is as fair as possible, and as free as is practical? By
negotiating rules and abiding by them. The WTO’s rules—the agreements—are the
result of negotiations between the members. The current set were the outcome
of the 1986–94 Uruguay Round negotiations which included a major revision of
the original General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). GATT is now the
WTO’s principal rule-book for trade in goods. The Uruguay Round also created
new rules for dealing with trade in services, relevant aspects of
intellectual property, dispute settlement, and trade policy reviews. The
complete set runs to some 30,000 pages consisting of about 60 agreements and
separate commitments (called schedules) made by individual members in
specific areas such as lower customs duty rates and services market-opening.
Through these agreements, WTO members operate a non-discriminatory trading
system that spells out their rights and their obligations. Each country
receives guarantees that its exports will be treated fairly and consistently
in other. These principles appear in the new General Agreement on Trade in
Services (GATS). WTO members have also made individual commitments under GATS
stating which of their services sectors they are willing to open to foreign
competition, and how open those markets are. countries’ markets. Each
promises to do the same for imports into its own market. The system also
gives developing countries some flexibility in implementing their
commitments.
     GOODS
It all began with trade in goods. From 1947 to 1994, GATT was the forum for
negotiating lower customs duty rates and other trade barriers; the text of
General Agreement spelt out important rules, particularly non-discrimination.
Since 1995, the updated GATT has become the WTO’s umbrella agreement for
trade in goods. It has annexes dealing with specific sectors such as
agriculture and textiles, and with specific issues such as state trading,
product standards, subsidies and actions taken against dumping.
     SERVICES
Banks, insurance firms, telecommunications companies, tour operators, hotel
chains and transport companies looking to do business abroad can now enjoy
the same principles of freer and fairer trade that originally only applied to
trade in goods.
     INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The WTO’s intellectual property agreement amounts to rules for trade and
investment in ideas and creativity. The rules state how copyrights,
trademarks, geographical names used to identify products, industrial designs,
integrated circuit layout-designs and undisclosed information such as trade
secrets—“intellectual property”—should be protected when trade is involved.
     DISPUTE SETTLEMENT
The WTO’s procedure for resolving trade quarrels under the Dispute Settlement
Understanding is vital for enforcing the rules and therefore for ensuring
that trade flows smoothly. Countries bring disputes to the WTO if they think
their rights under the agreements are being infringed. Judgments by
specially-appointed independent experts are based on interpretations of the
agreements and individual countries’ commitments. The system encourages
countries to settle their differences through consultation. Failing that,
they can follow a carefully mapped out, stage-by-stage procedure that
includes the possibility of a ruling by a panel of experts, and the chance to
appeal the ruling on legal grounds. Confidence in the system is borne out by
the number of cases brought to the WTO—167 cases by March 1999 compared to
some 300 disputes dealt with during the entire life of GATT (1947–94).
     POLICY REVIEW
The Trade Policy Review Mechanism’s purpose is to improve transparency, to
create a greater understanding of the policies that countries are adopting,
and to assess their impact. Many members also see the reviews as constructive
feedback on their policies. All WTO members must undergo periodic scrutiny,
each review containing reports by the country concerned and the WTO
Secretariat. Over 54 members have been reviewed since the WTO came into
force.
     DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE
Over three quarters of WTO members are developing or least-developed
countries. Special provisions for these members are included in all the WTO
agreements. They include longer time periods for implementing agreements and
commitments, measures to increase trading opportunities for these countries,
provisions requiring all WTO members to safeguard the trade interests of
developing countries, and support to help developing countries build the
infrastructure for WTO work, handle disputes, and implement technical
standards. In 1997, a high-level meeting on trade initiatives and technical
assistance for least-developed countries brought their concerns to centre
stage. The meeting involved six intergovernmental agencies and resulted in an
“integrated framework” to help least-developed countries increase their
ability to trade, and some additional preferential market access agreements.
A committee on trade and development, assisted by a sub-committee on least-
developed countries, looks at developing countries’ special needs. Its
responsibility includes implementation of the agreements, technical
cooperation, and the increased participation of developing countries in the
global trading system
     TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING
The WTO organizes around 100 technical cooperation missions to developing
countries annually. It holds on average three trade policy courses each year
in Geneva for government officials. Regional seminars are held regularly in
all regions of the world with a special emphasis on African countries.
Training courses are also organized in Geneva for officials from countries in
transition from central planning to market economies. In 1997/98, the WTO set
up reference centers in over 40 trade ministries in capitals of least-
developed countries, providing computers and internet access to enable
ministry officials to keep abreast of events in the WTO in Geneva through
online access to the WTO’s immense database of official documents and other
material.