WTO Essay, Research Paper
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization, (WTO), is the primary international body to help promote free trade, by drawing up the rules of international trade. It has been criticized for being very opaque and not allowing enough public participation, while being very welcoming to large corporations. I do not think that it helps the claims of free, open, and democratic globalization.
Criticisms have taken form in many ways, one of which was an enormous protest in Seattle, November 1999. In which people marched the streets for three days not allowing the WTO to succeed in any business decisions. Recent polls show that 58 percent of Americans agree that foreign trade has been bad for the US economy, and 81 percent of Americans say that Congress should not accept trade agreements that give other countries the power to overturn US laws. An additional criticism about the WTO is the rule regarding Production and Processing Methods that importing nations cannot distinguish how something is made when trading. This sounds ideal at first, equality and non-discrimination but I know that what sounds good might be to good to be true. A perfect example would be what has happened in reality is that some national laws and decisions
for safety and protection of people’s health, environment, and national economies have been deemed as barriers to free trade.
A current trade dispute discussed in the WTO is the dispute going on about the bananas between the United States and the European Communities, (EC). This dispute actually has been talked about in the Wall Street Journal. Both sides are frustrated. The U.S. is frustrated because they feel the European Union, (EU), has unfairly made loop holes in WTO guidelines, and the EU is upset because they say the United States is trying to control too much of their rights as global traders. The U.S. has stated that the EU has been purposely avoiding banana purchases in Latin America, and doing business in areas like Africa, where Europe has many ties. The WTO has the responsibility to work on a plan that will hopefully satisfy both parties to some degree, but the U.S. has strong opinions of implementing 520 million dollars worth of tariffs on EU imports into the U.S. Another dispute that is taking place is the Korean alcoholic beverage tax. This is a matter the WTO is also trying to fix. The U.S. and European Communities don’t agree with the tax that Korea is implementing on their imported alcoholic beverages.
One of the most discussed topics seems to be assistance for Third World countries. Many changes are taking place for developing countries, and the way they are conducting their international business. For one, they are aborting many of their uses of tariffs on infant companies to try and support growth. Secondly, they are changing their management to make themselves more attractive to
foreign investment, which in turn will increase foreign direct investment and help create more supportive trade balances. These developing nations are strongly advised to take part in the WTO, so they can obtain the benefits it has to offer. The WTO, with its many-sided trade view, simply allows smaller economic powers to be more fairly involved in world trade without being victimized and taken advantage of by stronger economic powers in the old bilateral style of global trading.
All recurring themes from the conservative mass were that more trade increases living standards for everyone. Who are we to deny Third World countries the wonders of capitalism? I find it difficult to understand this argument. We have the best health care. We have the best health care because we have the most money. Therefore, the more money everybody has the better health care will be provided. Better health care would be a great thing for all countries around the world. I would have to say that increasing access to quality health care through trade would be a painfully slow way of bringing up everyone’s living standards. However, it is a start and I can’t argue with it because it is a beginning. There are, nevertheless, other arguments against those that were part of the Battle in Seattle. One argument that the intellectual “saner heads” claim is that the environmental concerns of the protesters were completely unsupported since more money means better and higher education as well as more Schlossberg 4awareness of environmental issues. This proves to the argument that the better off people are, the more they take care of the environment. All in all, under the WTO rules, developing countries are prohibited from following the same polices that developed countries pursued, such as protecting domestic industries until they can be internationally competitive.