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Since the end of the World War II, the nations of world have made many attempts to settle down particularly on issues of cooperation in carrying out many tasks as a global community. These efforts have been seen through bodies like World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations (UN), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) among other organizations are just but examples of the organizations making attempts to unite the world. Most of these organizations have done great accomplishments. However there have been registered a number of concerns about the management of these organizations. Though going through the policies of these organizations they are depicted as having the common interest of all the members the registration of sharp complains by some of the members raise an alarm. In reference to this introduction this paper attempts to make a close cross examination of one of the organization (WTO) in attempt to verify complains raised against the body. In carrying out this examination the paper reviews credible resources to a clear picture on how the organization is run.
The world Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization a predecessor of GATT is a strategic body meant to ensure that the national boundaries are opened up for free trade. This goal is in agreement with the spirit of globalization which is consuming the world and changing it to be like a common market. The World Trade Organization commenced on January, 1995 with an aim of supervising and liberalizing international trade. The body accomplishes this by regulating trade among its members and providing a framework for negotiating among the members on issues which require consensus. In its attempt to achieve its goals the body has been pushing for the adoption of the Doha Development Agenda. The Doha Development Agenda otherwise called the Doha Round has been screened and brought to light in a significant way. The reason for this is probably because the agreement is meant to test the commitment of the members to the goals set by the organization. It should be noted that there are goals which have been set in the past in reference to the Doha Round but have not been met. The Doha Round seemingly has brought the main challenge the body is facing: the struggle to balance between the minor developed members and the major developing members.
According to the official records of WTO, the World Trade Organization has the main function of ensuring that "trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible" (WTO 2010, 1). WTO presides over issues on goods, services, intellectual property and dispute settlement among the members.
The organization started by negotiating issues related to trading in goods among the member countries. This was particularly evident in the predecessor organization body (GATT). This happened between the years of 1947 to 1994. Under GATT the organization provided a forum for negotiating custom duty rates which are friendly and uplifting trade barriers particularly those which tend to be discriminatory. Under WTO the issue of trading has been annexed to specific sectors particularly the agricultural sectors where there have been various attempts to deal with the issues of subsidies, product standardization and measure to be taken against dumping actions.
WTO has been able to negotiate opening up of the service industries. The organization has been able to negotiate the same deals which applied to goods so that they can apply to the service industry. The members have been requested to negotiate the service industries that they are able to open up to the rest of the members. This makes it possible for the members to invest in other countries and diversify their economies.
The organization has presided over the issue of intellectual property. This has been possible by the organization coming up with a set of rules which are meant to protect ideas and creativity. These rules incorporate the protection of, "copyrights, patents, trademarks, geographical names used to identify products, industrial designs, integrated circuit layout-designs and undisclosed information such as trade secrets - 'intellectual property' and how they should be used (WTO 2010 p. 5).
The organization has a set of rules which govern the settlement of disputes among the members. Disputes arise when members feel that their rights are being violated in reference to the agreements negotiated through the body. Negotiations of disputes are presided over by expert committees and interpretations are made according to the interpretation of the agreements made by the nations involved in the agreements (Bluestein 2010, p. 1).
Special Provision for the Developing Nations
The World Trade Organization has three quarters of its members drawn from the developing countries. The organization has made some intentional attempts to ensure that there are special provisions for these members. The organization ensures that this is carried out by overseeing that there is a technical assistance given to the developing countries. Having briefly examined the organization's operations we now turn the attention to complains which have been registered against the body.
Complains Against WTO
A number of complain have been launched against the organization. Complains raised have touched on the way the organization's policies are implemented. It is argued that the organization's policies are dictatorial. There are claims that the organization advocates for free trade at any cost and that the organization prioritizes commercial interests over development, environment healthy and safety. The organization has been brought under fire and blamed for destroying jobs, worsening poverty. The less developed countries have complained of being sidelined and blamed the organization of being used by the developed countries making the organization undemocratic. The negotiation process in the organization has been brought under scrutiny as the single process which propagates all the above launched complains (Nye 2004, p. 203; Evenett 2010, p. 1).
The Negotiation Process
According to the Third World Network, the negotiation process is the root cause of all complains that have been launched against the body. It has been termed as a big paradox that majorrity of the members are being discriminated against. The body operates on census basis in making decisions and as such it is expected that the majority of the members are will have their way but this has never happened. The highest decision making committee is the ministerial meeting followed by the general council. Formally decisions are made by simple majorities in these meetings (Krieger and Crahan 2001, p. 398).
When a proposal is being made it first has to go through some stages referred to as preliminary observations. These are made by some special committees and are meant to iron out any form of opposition which might be expected from the members when the proposal is tabled in the main floor. It has been argued such delegations pick members mainly from the developed countries and a majority of the developing countries' members are involved in these negotiation delegations. The members involved from the developing nations are those expected to oppose the proposal on the ground that they might be unfriendly to them. The negotiation groups often include the some members of the developing countries with an aim of winning the opposing members. It has been claimed that the negotiation groups are concentrated with members from the developed nations and as such winning over the few opposing members from the developing countries who are included in these groups is quite easy (Cass 2005, p. 200).
It has been claimed that the negotiation groups which take place off stage usually have the quad countries which are the European Union, the U.S, Canada and Japan. Switzerland being the host country is often included and either New Zealand or Australia. It has been reported that the members from the developed countries are: they are outweighed politically and by numbers in the negotiations stages and as such though they have numbers in the main floor they are bound by the decisions which are made in the negotiation stages. Thus though the body runs on a one vote one country system the negotiation stages are modified against the majority members (TWN 2010, p. 1).
The current negotiation on the Doha agreement has failed too many times. Some of the reasons which have been forwarded for the failure of these have been the adverse effects which are likely to be impacted on developing nations. For instance it will not be possible for the less developed countries to industrialize. The developed countries subsidize their farmers too much and these will lead to stiff competition for agricultural products from the developing countries (IGTN 2010, p. 1).
In conclusion it can be said that though the World Trade Organization has good vision and very good visions it has failed to oversee their proper implementation. This has been clearly been depicted by the current deadlock being experience by the organization. It can also be argued that the organization is too taking much than it can bite especially in reference to the Doha agreement. This is because there are some facts which need careful consideration. Issue touching on uplifting of barriers on agricultural goods and some industrial goods are need time because if the developing countries are uplift these barriers they are likely to kill their own economies and make them dependent on the economies of the developed countries.