WTO

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Abbreviation for World Trade Organization.

The World Trade Organization is the international organization charged with managing and directing the global trading system. Established in 1994 by the Marrakech Agreement concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, the WTO is the successor organization to the GATT. With a jurisdiction of 147 member states accounting for over 95 percent of world trade, the WTO is the venue for negotiations on binding agreements between its members, which the WTO also judges, enforces and monitors.

Headquartered in Geneva, the WTO is best known for its efforts to increase levels of international trade. Since 1999, the WTO has come under heavy criticism for its singlemindedness in pursuing this goal as well as for its lack of democratic decision making. While supporters say that the WTO provides the best means of ensuring the growth and stability of the global trading system, detractors assert that the WTO ends up promoting almost exclusively the ideologies and interests of its most powerful members.

The WTO has been at the center of some of the most spectacular political protests of the late 1990's and early 21st Century.

wto-protest.jpg

See Also


External Links

  • Official Site
  • Public Citizen's World Trade Watch
  • Third World Network
  • WTO Action
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