What are some of the problems of WTO mechanisms will pose for national governments?

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Question 2: What are some of the problems of WTO mechanisms will pose for national governments?

World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995 at the Uruguay Round of General Agreement of Trade and Tariffs (GATT). It was the successor of GATT, and is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. At the year of 2006, WTO has 149 members and is accounted for over 97% of the world trade. As the main objective of WTO is to establish a single global market with uniform rules, the goals of WTO mechanisms are to minimize government interference in the conduct of trade and eliminate the nation-state’s capacity to regulate commerce. However, these mechanisms have posed a threat to national governments to certain extent when formulating its own policies and laws.  

The regulatory system in WTO is quite different from GATT. A new concept – Self Executing Enforcement is introduced, which is never been used in any International Law. Self executing enforcement granted WTO legal personality and the capacity to enforce decisions on signatory countries, even though they cannot reach a unanimous consent. Moreover, WTO is empowered to facilitate further rule-making that binds all members even in the absence of their explicit consent where only two thirds vote of the membership can bind all the members. However, if the country wants to stop WTO from implementing a decision issued by a WTO tribunal or authorizing permanent trade sanctions against countries that refuse to change their domestic’s law to comply with a WTO decision, unanimous consensus are required.

Apart from this, WTO’s 12 free-standing agreements constrain government actions. They constrain both the goal a government seeks and the means it uses to obtain them. For example, in the food area, a government is not all allowed to have an environment goal, an animal welfare goal or a consumer information goal in setting up a standard that limits trade in food. For example, since the U.S. ban on DDT had more to do with what it did to birds than with what its effect on humans, they would not be allowed as a goal under WTO. The countries cannot seek to help the environment through food standards.

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From the above systems, WTO has the power over the domestics’ government in some extent. To pass the decision, only two third of vote is required but to stop the decision, unanimous consent is needed. It is not very fair to minority countries. Also, what WTO did is corporate-managed trade, but not free trade, since it produces constraints, not freedom, for the rest of the countries. WTO undermines the ability of national government to set up and enforce the laws. The national government has to pass the law which is in line with the goal of WTO - to promote ...

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*** This is a vast topic that requires much research. The writer has made a brave attempt but has not read widely enough around the topic. More examples would help of where the WTO has influenced laws. A balance would also be useful. Why do countries belong to it? What are the benefits of it?