Information about the organization
THE 10 MISUNDERSTANDINGS: 2. blindly for trade?
The WTO is NOT for free trade at any cost

It’s really a question of what countries are willing to bargain with each other, of give and take, request and offer.

1. WTO dictates?
2. Blindly for trade?
3. Ignores development?
Wrecks jobs?
Small left out?
Tool of lobbies?
Weak forced to join?

See also:
The WTO in Brief
10 benefits
Understanding the WTO

Depends on what they want to bargain





It all depends on what countries want to bargain



Yes, one of the principles of the WTO system is for countries to lower their trade barriers and to allow trade to flow more freely. After all, countries benefit from the increased trade that results from lower trade barriers.

But just how low those barriers should go is something member countries bargain with each other. Their negotiating positions depend on how ready they feel they are to lower the barriers, and on what they want to obtain from other members in return. One country’s commitments become another country’s rights, and vice versa.

The WTO’s role is to provide the forum for negotiating liberalization. It also provides the rules for how liberalization can take place.

The rules written into the agreements allow barriers to be lowered gradually so that domestic producers can adjust.

They have special provisions that take into account the situations that developing countries face. They also spell out when and how governments can protect their domestic producers, for example from imports that are considered to have unfairly low prices because of subsidies or “dumping”. Here, the objective is fair trade.

Just as important as freer trade — perhaps more important — are other principles of the WTO system. For example: non-discrimination, and making sure the conditions for trade are stable, predictable and transparent.

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