Question
Wed March 04, 2015 By: Shilpa Nair

Is WTO making rules fairly? Explain.

Expert Reply
Tharageswari S
Thu March 05, 2015

World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an organisation with 160 members (2014) which aims to liberalise the international trade. At the international level, WTO has pressured the developing countries to liberalise trade and investment.

Developed countries remain reluctant to make meaningful commitment in highly protected areas, in particular agriculture. Reform of special and differential treatment should not imply fundamental alterations in the balance of rights and obligations of members. Many developed countries expect that the current Doha development round in 2001 would bring significantly improved market access in developed countries and renewed flexibility in rules.

The Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) under WTO calls for introducing national treatment of foreign investments and removal of quantitative restrictions. These restrictions were largely identified in developing countries which were creating barrier in the free flow of foreign capital.

An analysis of the current regime for special and differential treatment of developing countries reveals a lack of systematic approach to their treatment in WTO law. Consideration of developing countries needs mostly takes the form of general, vague and mostly unforceable clauses. The system responds insufficiently to the diverse needs of developing countries which differ enormously regarding their economic power, production structure, and institutional capacity.

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