International Explainers: World Trade Organisation (WTO) Part 1

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This International Explainer takes a closer look at the purpose, rules and controversies of the WTO.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]
Q: What is the WTO?

The WTO effectively polices international trade. It sets the rules and works towards reducing tariffs (charges imposed by countries on non-domestic goods and services). Its predecessor was the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), created in 1948 to set common rules on the international trade of goods. The 8th round of GATT negotiations in 1994, the ‘Uruguay Round’, led to a far wider range of agreements than before, extending to trade in services such as banking and intellectual property rights, paving the way for the WTO’s creation in 1995.

The WTO currently has 164 members and 23 observer governments. Being a sovereign state is not a requirement for membership, hence Hong Kong and Taiwan’s inclusion, and the current 28 member countries of the EU are represented as one single member.

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Editor 2018-19 | International Editor 2017/18. Final year Modern History and Politics student from Bedford. Drinks far too much tea for his own good.

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