Information about the organization
THE 10 MISUNDERSTANDINGS: 1. WTO dictates?
1. The WTO does NOT tell governments what to do

The WTO does not tell governments how to conduct their trade policies. Rather, it’s a “member-driven” organization.


THE 10 MISUNDERSTANDINGS
1. WTO dictates?
2.
Blindly for trade?
3.
Ignores development?
4.
Anti-green?
5.
Anti-health?
6.
Wrecks jobs?
7.
Small left out?
8.
Tool of lobbies?
9.
Weak forced to join?
10.
Undemocratic?
  

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


Member-driven

 

 

 

 

 

The WTO is member-driven

 

That means:

  • the rules of the WTO system are agreements resulting from negotiations among member governments,

  • the rules are ratified by members’ parliaments, and

  • decisions taken in the WTO are virtually all made by consensus among all members.

In other words, decisions taken in the WTO are negotiated, accountable and democratic.

The only occasion when a WTO body can have a direct impact on a government’s policies is when a dispute is brought to the WTO and if that leads to a ruling by the Dispute Settlement Body (which consists of all members). Normally the Dispute Settlement Body makes a ruling by adopting the findings of a panel of experts or an appeal report.

Even then, the scope of the ruling is narrow: it is simply a judgement or interpretation of whether a government has broken one of the WTO’s agreements—agreements that the infringing government had itself accepted. If a government has broken a commitment it has to conform.

In all other respects, the WTO does not dictate to governments to adopt or drop certain policies.

As for the WTO Secretariat, it simply provides administrative and technical support for the WTO and its members.

In fact: it’s the governments who dictate to the WTO.

 
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