WTO is operated by various interconnected provisions, rules and regulation. These are the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of 1944; Article V which provides for free goods transit; Article VII which gives rules for customs valuation; Article VIII which gives guidelines for fees and formalities when exporting or importing; Article X which gives guides on trade regulations.
Article VII implementation guidelines; Agreement of Rules of Origin; Agreements on Applications of Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures (SPS); Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT); Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures; Agreement on Pre-shipment Inspection ; General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Doha Round Negotiations. This paper by method of grounded literature will review the role and activities of the WTO. The paper will also review how the WTO policies, regulations and operations have been effective in the Global South member states.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) made up of less than 144 member states and has the mandate of bringing trade development to all the member states with the elimination of barrier policies. It was started in 1995. The delivery of this process would normally result in aggressive negotiation between the country members with one of the most high profile proposal coming from the Doha Development Agenda in 2001. (Sutherland et al.
, 2004) However, most of the items that were discussed have seemingly been falling short in delivery and commitment because the richer Northern countries are favouring themselves at the expense of the poorer southern countries. (Sutherland et al. , 2004) This experience of shortcoming in the WTO to acts appropriately is subverting the Global South countries development effort such as the millennium development goals on poverty. (Sutherland et al. , 2004).
What is even more frustrating is the fact that China has come up to bolster the South-South trade for aid co-operations in the gaps where the Global North-South has failed and met very aggressive criticism. ( Yue 2008, p. 1-4) WTO assertion that the development is in progress is rhetoric at the moment. This observation is justified because of the poor or lacking policies in sectors such as agriculture. In fact the most contentious policies have never been objectively tabled at the annual negotiating table.
The Global South is experiencing a lot of trade difficulties due to the export subsidies and the draconian trade boundaries. (Sutherland et al. , 2004). The trade border issue is cited to be the most difficult for WTO to resolve with most member countries sticking to the protectionist agendas. Many WTO nations would like to protect their special trade products from erosion that would follow if trade was truly liberalized as should be the case in a fully committed WTO environment.
(Sutherland et al. , 2004). For majority of these failures to address their mandate, the WTO is now facing new wind of opposition from China. China has come up to address these gaps yet the North views this move from a political dimension that China will eventually champion a South –South power region that is not loyal and good for business with the North-North region. ( Yue 2008, p. 1-4)