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MARRAKESH AGREEMENT AND THE WTO



  Apr 12, 2024

MARRAKESH AGREEMENT AND THE WTO



Understanding the Marrakesh Agreement: The Foundation of the World Trade Organization

The Marrakesh Agreement, signed in April 1994 in Marrakech, Morocco, established the World Trade Organization (WTO), marking a significant evolution in global trade governance. The agreement was the culmination of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations (1986-1994), which aimed to extend the scope of trade liberalization to sectors not previously covered by General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) rules, such as services and intellectual property.

Core Objectives and Structure:

•Trade Liberalization: The agreement sought to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade, aiming to foster a more open and fair global trading system.

•Dispute Resolution: It introduced a more structured process for resolving trade disputes between countries, with the establishment of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).

•Monitoring and Transparency: The WTO was tasked with monitoring national trade policies, ensuring transparency, and providing a forum for trade negotiations.

Key Components:

1.Trade in Goods: Through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the Marrakesh Agreement aimed to liberalize trade in goods by reducing tariffs and eliminating quantitative restrictions.

2.Trade in Services: The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was introduced to extend the multilateral trading system to the service sector, addressing issues like access to foreign markets and national treatment.

3.Intellectual Property: The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) sought to establish common standards for protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights globally.

4.Agriculture and Textiles: Specific agreements were made to address the unique challenges and protections in agriculture and textiles, sectors that had been subject to extensive trade restrictions.

Challenges and Criticisms:

Despite its ambitious goals, the WTO has faced criticism and challenges, including accusations of promoting unfair trade practices that benefit wealthier nations, difficulty in concluding new global trade agreements due to the diverse interests of its members, and recent issues with its dispute settlement mechanism. The organization’s ability to adapt and address contemporary trade issues continues to be tested in an era of rising protectionism and geopolitical tensions.

By laying the foundation for a rules-based international trading system, the Marrakesh Agreement aimed to promote economic growth and development worldwide. However, the evolving global trade landscape underscores the need for continuous reform and adaptation of the WTO to meet the challenges of the 21st century.


SRIRAM’s


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