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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain the origin and role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
  • Discuss the significance and provide examples of regional trading agreements
  • Analyze trade policy at the national level
  • Evaluate long-term trends in barriers to trade

These public policy arguments about how nations should react to globalization and trade are fought out at several levels: at the global level through the World Trade Organization and through regional trade agreements between pairs or groups of countries.

The world trade organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO)    was officially born in 1995, but its history is much longer. In the years after the Great Depression and World War II, there was a worldwide push to build institutions that would tie the nations of the world together. The United Nations officially came into existence in 1945. The World Bank, which assists the poorest people in the world, and the International Monetary Fund, which addresses issues raised by international financial transactions, were both created in 1946. The third planned organization was to be an International Trade Organization, which would manage international trade. The United Nations was unable to agree to this. Instead, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)    , was established in 1947 to provide a forum in which nations could come together to negotiate reductions in tariffs and other barriers to trade. In 1995, the GATT was transformed into the WTO.

The GATT process was to negotiate an agreement to reduce barriers to trade, sign that agreement, pause for a while, and then start negotiating the next agreement. The rounds of talks in the GATT, and now the WTO, are shown in [link] . Notice that the early rounds of GATT talks took a relatively short time, included a small number of countries, and focused almost entirely on reducing tariffs. Since the 1970s, however, rounds of trade talks have taken years, included a large number of countries, and an ever-broadening range of issues.

The negotiating rounds of gatt and the world trade organization
Year Place or Name of Round Main Subjects Number of Countries Involved
1947 Geneva Tariff reduction 23
1949 Annecy Tariff reduction 13
1951 Torquay Tariff reduction 38
1956 Geneva Tariff reduction 26
1960–61 Dillon round Tariff reduction 26
1964–67 Kennedy round Tariffs, anti-dumping measures 62
1973–79 Tokyo round Tariffs, nontariff barriers 102
1986–94 Uruguay round Tariffs, nontariff barriers, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, textiles, agriculture, creation of WTO 123
2001– Doha round Agriculture, services, intellectual property, competition, investment, environment, dispute settlement 147

The sluggish pace of GATT negotiations led to an old joke that GATT really stood for Gentleman’s Agreement to Talk and Talk. The slow pace of international trade talks, however, is understandable, even sensible. Having dozens of nations agree to any treaty is a lengthy process. GATT often set up separate trading rules for certain industries, like agriculture, and separate trading rules for certain countries, like the low-income countries. There were rules, exceptions to rules, opportunities to opt out of rules, and precise wording to be fought over in every case. Like the GATT before it, the WTO is not a world government, with power to impose its decisions on others. The total staff of the WTO in 2014 is 640 people and its annual budget (as of 2014) is $197 million, which makes it smaller in size than many large universities.

Questions & Answers

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Solomon
How do commercial banks create credits ?
Hussein Reply
Commercial banks create credit by advancing loans and purchasing securities. They lend money to individuals and businesses out of deposits accepted from the public. After keeping the required amount of reserves, commercial banks can lend the remaining portion of public deposits.
Neeraj
for an economy the following function have been given. C=100+0.8y, S=100+0.2, i=120-5r, Ms=120, Md=0.2y-5r find out IS equation. LM equation. Equilibrium level of income and interest rate.
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Using the Solow growth model discuss the implications of the covid19 pandemic on the prospects of long run economic growth for South Africa
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Savings = Income - consumption... Remember Y=C+I+G-(X-M)
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Unemployment since it covers the youth and all the pension leavers.
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I would say economic growth. Economic growth stems from proper use of factors of Productions, good political reforms, investments (Foreign & local), employment, low levels of inflation & stable currency.
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Calculate the cross elasticity of demand by using the following data: Price of petrol rises from Rs. 20 per litre to Rs. 25 per litre so as the demand for cars falls from 50 per month to 30 per month.
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the branch of economics that focuses on board issue such as growth unemployment inflation and trade balance.
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an economy starts off with a GDP per capita of $5000. How large will the GDP per capita be if it grow at an annual rate of 2% for 20years
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5000*(1+0.02)*20=7,450 USD
Modek
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Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
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