The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. It is an organization for trade opening. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It is a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. Decisions in the WTO are typically taken by consensus among all members and they are ratified by members’ parliaments. This leads to a more prosperous, peaceful and accountable economic world.
World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Discussing the liberalisation of trade in the wake of a pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world to take extra steps to limit the damage of the outbreak. While working on the crisis mitigation, an additional complicating factor became the growing number of export prohibitions and restrictions which have triggered a major economic recession, and hence this has been predicted to be a crisis of a greater magnitude than the Great Depression of the 1930s. Businesses and trade systems have come to a halt, and millions have been laid off. The pandemic simply adds further momentum to the De-globalisation or the ‘Slowbalisation’ trend. The WTO has forecast that world trade will decline between 13% and 32% in 2020, much more than the expected fall in world GDP. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to gather information within a multilateral platform to avoid unnecessary repetition of efforts and to increase efficiency amongst the nations and their collaborations. The WTO has the legal and practical tools, as well as the resources, to work towards this goal. Hence, we call upon the delegates of the WTO to deliberate pragmatically on the liberalisation and further promotion of free trade between the countries, emphasizing on the economic aspects of the crisis in detail.