WTO - what is it?

Each of us regularly hear in the news about the WTO.For information about this organization can be found in textbooks on geography and economics.Its work is very important for European countries, but our fellow citizens know little about it.In recent years very actively discussed this topic as "Russia and the WTO."And in the wake of growing interest, let's try to understand this complex economic and political issues.

Structure and organization

So, the WTO - what is it?Abbreviation stands for "World Trade Organization".It was founded in 1995 to expand the freedom of trade relations worldwide, and between States, to join the WTO.In a basis the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, established in 1947.

headquarters of the organization is located in Switzerland (Geneva).Currently CEO of the structure is Pascal Lamy, and in mid-2013 has a membership of 159 countries.The Director-General submits to the General Council or the Secretariat, which in turn manages several commissions.

main official body of the WTO - Ministerial Conference.It meets at least once every two years.In the history of the structure it was organized six such conferences, and almost each of them accompanied by a number of protest actions by the enemies of globalization.I think we have answered the question: "WTO, what is it?".We now turn to consider the objectives of the organization.

three main objectives

1. The smooth facilitation of international trade and the removal of barriers to it.Organization of the WTO does not allow at the same negative consequences as well as abuse.For individual entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations, departmental rules of international trade are not changed without notice.Their meaning is clear and understandable, and the use of - series.

2. Since the signing of the texts of agreements involving many countries, among them the debate continually arise.WTO acts as an intermediary in negotiations by introducing a number of regulatory restrictions and creating reliability, helping to avoid conflicts.

3. The third important aspect of the organization - the settlement of disputes.After all, the negotiating parties usually have different goals.Contracts and agreements concluded with the mediation of the WTO, it is often necessary subsequent interpretation.All the contentious issues better addressed in the established order of organization, based on mutually agreed legal aspects of ensuring parties equal opportunities and rights.That is why all the agreements signed within the organization include the item on the conditions of the settlement of disputes.

Five Principles

Currently, there are five principles that should correspond to the world trading system.

1. Non-discrimination

No state has the right to infringe upon another by imposing restrictions on imports and exports of goods.Ideally, national and foreign products must be sold on the domestic market under the same conditions.

2. Reducing protectionism (trade) barriers

Trade barriers - these are the factors that prevent the emergence of foreign goods in the domestic market of any state.First of all, these include import quotas and customs duties.Also on the international trade policy affects the establishment of exchange rates and administrative obstacles.

3. Predictability and stability in trading conditions

the government, investors and foreign companies must be confident in the immutability of trading conditions (tariff and non-tariff barriers) sudden and arbitrary manner.

4. Promote competition component

to competition between firms in different countries was an equal need to prevent unfair methods of struggle - export subsidies (state support for exporting firms) and the application of dumping (especially undervalued) price to enter new export markets.

5. Benefits for countries with low levels of

Usually, WTO countries have a strong economy, but there are underdeveloped state, which organization gives special privileges.This principle is in conflict with others, but it is necessary to draw in international trade of countries with a low level of development.


  • control of compliance with the basic WTO agreements;
  • settlement of disputes on the issues of foreign economic trade;
  • help both developing and low developed countries;
  • cooperation with various international organizations;
  • create favorable conditions for talks between the members of the WTO;
  • control policies of countries in international trade.

accession procedure

We practically opened the question "WTO - what is it?".It remains to consider the most important part - the procedure for accession, spent the long years of existence of the organization.Judging by the experience of countries-candidates, the process takes about 5-7 years.

In the first phase, special working groups carried out a comprehensive analysis of trade and political regime and economic mechanism of the acceding State for compliance with the rules and regulations of the WTO.Then begin negotiating the terms of entry into the organization of the candidate country.And they can participate and interested member states of the working groups.

main theme of negotiations - "commercially significant" concessions that will get the country's WTO on access to its markets after the official entry of a candidate to the organization.No less important to discuss the issue - the timing of the obligations arising from membership.

In turn, the acceding State will receive the right to have other members of the WTO.It will cease its discrimination in foreign markets.If any member of the organization committing illegal acts, any country may lodge a complaint with the DSB (Dispute Settlement Body).At the national level it is obliged to execute the decision, each member of the WTO.

final step is ratification by the legislature of the State of the candidate of all the documents agreed upon by the Working Group and approved by the General Council.After this procedure, the candidate country receives the appropriate status.

Russia and WTO

As the economy of our country (even since the Soviet collapse) more and more integrated in international trade, began to emerge the need to exit the world stage.The first entry into the WTO was discussed by the Russian leadership still in 1995, the same year negotiations were held.Country's accession to the organization will provide many benefits.And given the pace of development of globalization, their preparation is becoming a strategic priority.Bonuses, which Russia will receive after joining the WTO:

  • the best conditions for the access of our products to the world market;
  • expanding opportunities for Russian investors to enter the markets of other member countries of the organization;
  • improving the image of the state on the international political arena;
  • the possibility of using the legal framework of the WTO to resolve trade disputes;
  • participate in the development of rules and standards for international trade in view of its own interests.

in 2012 ended 16 years of negotiations on Russia's WTO accession.The Constitutional Court has been sent to an international treaty in order to verify its compliance with the Russian legislation.In July 2012 the court found the conditions prescribed in the agreement of WTO law, like all the agreement as a whole.After 11 days of President Vladimir Putinsigned a decree on Russia's accession to this organization.


Hopefully we talked in detail about the organization, and you do not have a question, "the WTO - what is it?".Finally, a few words of criticism.

Many people do not agree with the WTO principles of free trade.They believe that these principles do not contribute to a more prosperous life for most people, but only lead to the enrichment of the already wealthy countries (and individuals).Also, the WTO agreements are accused of unfair priority rich countries and multinational corporations.

Critics say that small WTO Members do not have influence in the organization, and developed - focus exclusively on their own commercial interests.Also, according to experts, environmental protection and health always are pushed into the background in favor of the additional benefits for business.