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Briefly about WTO

The World Trade Organization (hereinafter referred to as WTO) history started from the Second World War. The creation of the world trade system resulted from the increased number of barriers in goods trade as between the countries in 40s.

The arrangement of the world trade system in order to reduce customs duty rates and other barriers in the trade was scheduled as in two step process:

1) the creation of the International trade organization (hereinafter referred to as ITO);

2) the commencement of the multi-lateral negotiations and change of liabilities on tariffs as in the General Agreement on customs tariffs and trade (hereinafter referred to as GATT).

However, the idea of creating ITO did not succeed. The GATT Agreement was revised, but ITO was never created.

Thus, GATT was acknowledged as de facto an international organization bearing the functions as pre-taken by the ITO. Formally GATT operated as international agreement as signed between 23 countries in 1947, containing rules and liabilities for trade regulation among the member-countries. With that Temporary Commission on ITO acted as the GATT Secretariat.

Before creating the World Trade Organization GATT operated for 47 years by developing multilateral trade system as by holding numerous discussions and rounds. If initial discussions were focused on reducing tariffs in goods trade then further negotiations included such measures as anti-dumping and non-tariff issues.


In the period from 1947 through 1994 in the frames General Agreement on customs tariffs and trade eight rounds of discussion were conducted devoted to different trade aspects.

GATT discussion rounds




Place /Round


Number of countries



GATT creation and elimination of 45 thousand of tariff limits




Mutual assignments on 5 thousand of tariffs











GenevaSwitzerland / Dillon round




GenevaSwitzerland /Kennedy round

Tariffs and anti-dumping measures



GenevaSwitzerland / Tokyo round

Tariffs and non-tariff measures, 

frame contracts and introduction

 of specific protection measures



GenevaSwitzerland Uruguay round

Tariffs and non-tariff measures,

goods trade and trade aspects 

ofintellectual property rightDispute settlement, import and export of textile and agricultural goods and WTO creation



The Uruguay round became the eighth and the last round of trade discussions with the seven years and six months taken by the GATT member-countries to hold.

In the course of the Minister conference in December of 1990 in Brussels (Belgium) which should have completed the Uruguay round of discussions it appeared to be obvious that the ministers did not succeed in agreeing upon the methods of the reforming in the field of trading the agricultural goods and they made a decision to proceed with the discussions in future.

The draft of the Complete Act was presented in Geneva in 1991. The completion of the discussions and the approval of the above document basically depended on settling the disputes between USA and the countries of the European Society.

In 1992 in Washington there were discussions where the USA and the EU countries settled the majority of the under dispute issues on the agricultural goods trade and signed the Blayerhouse agreement.

In the middle of 1993 USA, EU, Japan and Canada reached for significant progress in tariff and the access to the market of goods and services. Resulted from the above in December of 1993 in Geneva they formally completed all discussions in the frames of the Uruguay round of discussions. A number of agreements concerning the above round were signed in Marrakesh (Morocco) in April of 1994. 

The main achievement of the Uruguay round was the creation of the World Trade Organization which came into effect on January 1 of 1995 as well as approval of a number of agreements, which further made a basis for WTO legal base.

Thus, the WTO is an international organization created with then purpose to work out multilateral rules of the trade between the states participating in this organization acting in accordance with the principles of non-discrimination, free trade and transparency. The basics of the WTO is numerous agreements signed by the member-states resulted from multilateral discussions and ratified by the parliaments of the above countries.

WTO agreements mean legal documents covering a wide range of activities, including: agriculture, textile and clothes, bank sector, telecommunications, governmental purchases, product safety, intellectual property and other issues.


WTO aim


The Introduction of the Marrakesh agreement on the creation of the World Trade Organization ddApril 15, 1994 major aim of the organization was indicated as the improvement of life of people in the WTO member-countries, which in turn means the improvement of life level, full engagement, as well as high and continuously growing actual income level.

To reach for the set aim WTO member-countries started the creation of free trade which means the increase of production volumes and trading goods and services by negotiating aimed at the liberalization of trade flows and entering into mutually beneficial agreement.


The introductory part of the Agreement also acknowledges the necessity in further efforts aimed at the developing countries, in particular those as less developed, have the share in the growing international trade which conform to their economical development.



WTO tasks


Article 3 of the Marrakesh Agreement on WTO creation lists WTO tasks to include as follows:

  • Regulation and execution of the multilateral trade agreements;

  • Commercial discussions as forum;

  • Implementation of the Agreement on the regulation and procedure of dispute settlement;

  • Implementation of the Commercial Policy revision mechanismby WTO member-countries;

  • Interaction between WTO member-countries and other international agencies.