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The World Trade Organisation. Structure and Objectives of the Lecture Section One: Uncover the formal ideology of the WTO and examine the modern history.

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Presentation on theme: "The World Trade Organisation. Structure and Objectives of the Lecture Section One: Uncover the formal ideology of the WTO and examine the modern history."— Presentation transcript:

1 The World Trade Organisation

2 Structure and Objectives of the Lecture Section One: Uncover the formal ideology of the WTO and examine the modern history of the world trade regime Section Two: Present some data about the organisation of WTO and outline its major areas of operation Section Three: WTO and commodity trade

3 Section Four: Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) Section Five: Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Section Six/Conclusion: Attempt to place WTO in its global historical context

4 Section One: The underlying ideology of WTO is little different from that of Adam Smith and François Quesnay Comparative advantage and market based trade Multilateralism is a superior method of achieving free trade than bilateralism which leads to fracture

5 Idea (myth) of the great depression is important to this ideology Also empirical link between levels of trade and development. The WTO mum and dad was the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) The GATT was a agreement (a continuous series of talks) not a organisation

6 GATT was created in 1947 US Congress Blocked plans to create a ‘proper’ international organisation to regulate trade The same ideology regulated the GATT as the WTO but it was more diplomatic and less legalistic, possessed fewer sanctions and was narrower scope In some way reflection of the Ruggie’s ‘embedded liberal comprise’

7 Section Two WTO created with little fanfare and debate in 1995 out of GATT Urgargy round 149 Members in February 2006 Attempt to put Multilateral Trading System on a much surer footing Organisation of Networks. WTO is largely run by state officials not its own secretariat (it only employs 500 people. The World Bank employs over 6000) The WTO does actually do anything (expect monitor) but it is instead a vehicle through which state’s do things

8 Over 40 different committees and working groups (General Council) Perhaps its easier to understand the WTO as a number of forums Ministerial Meeting every two years (Seattle (1999), Doha(2001), Cancun (2003) Hong Kong (2005)) Formally very democratic but realities are quite different……….

9 Section Three: Commodity Trade Agriculture is a ‘special’ area (US and EU pact) Concessions to Underdeveloped World: Phase out date of 2013 for agricultural export subsidies Duty free/quota free access for least developed but only on 97 per cent of tariff lines by US and Japan Cotton DF/QF and export subsidies immediately Also abolition of Multi Fibre Arrangement between 1995-2005

10 At least cosmetically major moves towards liberalisation and creation of a pro- development agenda But are concessions real? Lift restrictions on items that you do not import from developing countries anyway Also Agriculture is a Red Herring…..

11 Cairns Group: Argentina | Australia | Bolivia | Brazil | Canada | Chile | Colombia | Costa Rica | Guatemala | Indonesia | Malaysia | New Zealand | Pakistan |Paraguay | Philippines | South Africa | Thailand | UruguayArgentinaAustralia BoliviaBrazilCanadaChileColombiaCosta RicaGuatemalaIndonesia MalaysiaNew ZealandPakistanParaguayPhilippinesSouth Africa ThailandUruguay

12 Also who benefits within these countries?

13 Or……

14 Section Four: TRIMs What the WTO understands trade is very broad TRIMs investment/trade in services Area were rich states have a clear advantage Quite intrusive in that they impact on financial regulation and public service provision

15 The issue of TRIPs has come up in relation to reform of the NHS reform The WTO has said that only a monopoly provider in the public sector is excluded from coverage. A service is commercial when patients have a choice of hospitals— that is when hospitals are effectively in competition regardless of whether ownership is in public or private hands. According to this interpretation, the market- oriented reforms of the NHS Plan redefine the NHS as a commercial service subject to trade rules. At the very least, final determination of the status of the NHS will be dependent on a disputes settlements panel of the WTO (Price and Pollock, 2002).

16 Section Five: TRIPs Most controversial aspect of the entire trade regime Great deal in Media concerning AIDS drugs Authored by major drugs and media firms in core capitalist state’s Intellectual property is different from physical property Difficult to establish creation (always drawing on pool of common heritage) and it is non- exclusive.

17 Patenting regimes represent a compromise between public and private goods Shift towards private goods in last few decades in key economies in terms of lengths and scope of patenting Patenting of Genetic Material Herdergen, M. (2002) ‘Patents on parts of the human body: salient issues under EC and WTO law’, Journal of World Intellectual Property, 5(2):145-55. Market capitalisation of US biotechnology firms increased from $45 billion in 1994 to $311 billion in 2005

18 TRIPs seek to internationalise this protection Also biopiracy (Neam Tree ) As capitalist fails recognize pre-capitalist forms of common property Common heritage of mankind…. Primitive accumulation redux

19 Also it is impossible to prove a link between innovation and property rights protection. Benefits of protection offset by costs of preventing diffusion Sampling and the Development of Hip- Hop


21 Neo-liberals themselves are ambiguous on TRIPs, some see them as anti-competitive TRIPs contested not a completed project

22 Section Six/ Conclusion Creation of WTO and attendant agreements reflects both material developments in global political economy and itself represents a attempt to create new set of material conditions The conflicts WTO reflect laws of combined and uneven development In many respects WTO empowers state elites Two important points of reference in pervious literature

23 First: Commodity Chains Second: Harvey. Particularly Image, accumulation by dispossession and TRIPs

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