The objective of this paper is to examine in broad terms the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its impact on the power of the national state in governing trade. The assumption put forward by the opponents of the WTO, claiming that the WTO forms an invisible global government' is being challenged. This discussion paper will examine views of the WTO itself and some of its critics.
First of all the origin of the WTO trading system and its benefits are presented, followed by the overview of the common theories and views for and against the WTO and finished with the exploration of the impact of the WTO trading system on the nation state.
THE ORIGIN OF THE WTO.
Trade is central to human health, prosperity and social welfare. Examples of trade in daily life are so abundant they sometimes go unnoticed. Many of the goods we buy, the services we use and the foods we eat depend on foreign trade. Trade enriches our lives through greater choice and opens our minds to new ideas and cultures. It binds people together in a dynamic and complex network of mutually beneficial commercial relations. It is a key engine of economic growth. However, looking at the history of trade relation it is easy to discern that trade is not entirely a natural phenomenon, it mostly depends on a political will. .
In 1948, 23 nations recognised that a strong, predictable and rules-based multilateral trading system would be in the interest of all countries and set up an agreement called The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the GATT). In 1995, the GATT became the WTO, a fully-fledged international organisation with stronger and broader authority . Its membership today includes 142 members, each at its own level of economic development and with its own set of economic priorities. All of these nations recognised that a body such as the WTO could help them to voice their specific concerns on the international arena.