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The World Trade Organization – What is it? Why does it matter in 2019?

The World Trade Organization - What is it? Why does it matter to Japan, the US and China?

We at Classiarius often talk about a “time arch” in terms of 5 to 20 years of more. When looking at the World Trade Organization or the WTO as it is often referred to in the press, we must measure time in decades or look back to the end of World War II. This organization is the only international institution that oversees the global trade rules between all nations. Its foundation is built on the rules set forth by nations between themselves or among groups of nations. The core function of this organization is to support the easy flow of goods and services, exporters and importers and of course to protect the rights of those trading.

Those who support the WTO are for the most part, multinational corporations who see this organizing body as a supporter of their business. Those who oppose the WTO are skeptical because they believe that 1. it undermines the democratic values of nation states and 2. widens the international wealth gap.

With 164 member countries, there are also members that are considered “observer” countries, all connected by this organization based in Geneva, Switzerland and has three official languages – English, French and Spanish. The current budget, 2017 numbers, is 198 million Swiss francs or about $210 million US. The WTO was created in 1995 and has delivered results and controversy every since. It was born out of the GATT and IMF world, World Bank, the Bretten-Woods System and other international bodies that facilitate globalism. This organization is now being questioned by Japan, the United States and others with regards to unfair trade practices by China, specifically the transfer of technology for market access. See our other articles on our platform.

The very idea of the WTO, and these other organizations like it, is that impartial politicians can create a more efficient economy – in short, place the decision making process in the hands of the officials who are not part of the election process. However, the WTO has now become broker for tariffs and other issues that impact food production, steel and auto production in member states.

It is important to note that the WTO was designed to decrease tariffs for free trade, not to broker them to support sometimes special interest groups in some countries. Despite the WTO being a agent of change with a mandate to improve free trade, when disputes are settled the organization is infamously opaque when it comes to revealing how settlements are reached.

In short,

The WTO has fueled globalization and has contributed in positive and adverse ways. It has created wealth by expanding trade but at the same time, ushered in the decline of domestic industries and increased foreign influence into local economies. On a day to day basis, it involves itself in mediation, and provides a platform for member governments to negotiate and resolve trade issues with other members. However, recently, many countries have been more vocal about its globalist agenda and practices that seem to be driven by secret meetings in which details are seldom revealed.

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