Rapport wto structure

Rapport wto structure

Basic description: Location: Geneva, Switzerland Established: 1 January 1995 Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94) Membership: 153 countries on 23 July 2008 (117 developing countries) Budget: 194 million Swiss francs for 2010? Secretariat staff: 637? Head: Pascal Lamy (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 16 different multilateral agreements The Structure:

The WTO is a Common Law–based system, which is typically an Anglo-Saxon system. This means that they are referring to previous encountered and solved cases. It also means that once a decision has been taken regarding a case for one or two countries, it then applies to all countries. Four levels of decision can be identified in order to describe the WTO structure. At the very first level states the Ministerial Conference. Its power and range of action is very large as it can take decision on any topic or issue. But in practice, the Trade Ministers who are forming this Conference do actually not take much decision.

It appears to be more a representation or show-off event that takes place every two years. The second level of analysis is actually where the decisions are taken: The

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General Council. It is split into three entities, which assume most of the everyday tasks. First is the Dispute Settlement Body, which manages the procedures to solve disputes. Then is the Trade Policy Review Body, which has a look at the trade policies of the WTO members. Every year a new chairman is elected and all WTO members take place in this Body. The last entity is the General Council itself. This body takes most of the decisions of the WTO.

It is the essential entity of the organisation. The third level of decision in the organisation is the level of the councils focused on one trade area: the Council for Trade in Goods, the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the Council for Trade in Services. Two principles characterize those Councils. The first is the ‘Rule of single undertaken’. This rule states that if you become a member of the WTO, you have to adopt all the agreements enforced up-to-date as a single package. This was not the case with the GATT for which you could pick up the agreements you wanted.

The second rule is the rule of ‘the Most Favourable Nation’, which stipulates that one privilege granted to on country has to be automatically extended to all WTO members. The fourth and last level of the WTO is gathering all the small and specific committees and bodies, which deal with precise encountered issues. All members are represented and they achieving a real work for the organisation. The WTO is enforcing different types of laws. Those are the Agreements, the Ministerial Decision, the Ministerial Declarations, the Protocols and the Understandings. Decision-making Process:

Four type of process are used to take decisions. For the amendments concerning general principles, unanimity is required. Regarding the interpretations of the provisions of the WTO and waivers of the WTO disciplines for member, the organisation asks for three-quarters of the majority. Concerning the amendments to the WTO relating to issues other than general principles and the accession, only two-thirds of the majority is asked. For most of the decision, when not specified otherwise, the decisions are made by consensus. If this consensus cannot be met, they proceed to a vote.

This case happened only twice in the WTO history. Decision making issues The principle is that each country has a voting right; so it should bring fairness and good practices as everyone has the same power whatever its GDP or political power. But decision-making process seems unfair according to some authors; even if developing countries have more and more importance and power. In fact the issue is more about their exclusion of the process by developed countries. Countries rivalry: All of these bring to rivalry between countries; and this trend will be stronger in the future.

The developing countries are more and more implied in the global economy; they start to gain power and be able to join together to start to face decisions imposed by the developed countries. Disputes: The process used to solve the disputes already existed in the GAAP; but it has been improved and modified in the WTO. Indeed the GAAP based the solving of disputes on consensus and this lead between 1980’s and the early 1990’s to a rise of the number of unresolved disputes. Moreover, it was possible for some countries unhappy with the decision or the ongoing events to block the dispute solving.

The actual system is based on a multilateral system. Multilateral dispute resolution procedure is very important for the small countries; theoretically it allows them to express their views and issues and to be able to win a dispute. Nowadays, the conflict resolution procedure is called DSP: Dispute settlement procedures. It defines 3 types of complaints (They were already defined in the article XXIII GAAT) * Violation complaint; * Non-violation complaint; * Situation complaint The main steps of the dispute solving are the following: 1-Consultation and mediation -Request for a panel 3-The panel at work 4-Adoption decision or appeal 5-Implementation If necessary, recourse can be made by a country if it estimates that the decision is unfair or just if he wants to change the decision. If so, it will restart the procedure at the first stage. The new DSP is more efficient compare to the GAAT because unable members to block the solving process. According to H. B (cf ebook page 78) The expectation was that small players would have greater incentives to bring cases (Whalley, 1996; Schott and Buurman, 1994; Croome, 1999). Case study about the WTO