All WTO Members may participate in all Councils, Committees, etc., with the exception of the Appellate Body, the Dispute Settlement Bodies, the Textiles Surveillance Body and the Plurilateral Committees. The negotiations mandated in the Doha Declaration take place within the Trade Negotiations Committee and its subsidiaries. Another important type of trade agreement is the Framework Agreement on Trade and Investment. TFA provide a framework for governments to discuss and resolve trade and investment issues at an early stage. These agreements are also a way to identify and work on capacity building, where appropriate. 1. To what extent are U.S. trade objectives achieved through the WTO multilateral forum compared to other means such as bilateral or regional trade agreements or unilateral measures? The WTO has many advantages for the United States: it provides the only multilateral dispute settlement mechanism for international trade, manages rules to prevent discrimination, and provides greater security in the conduct of trade. However, some criticize the WTO as slow and cumbersome because of its large membership, different national interests and consensual decision-making. An alternative is to pursue U.S. objectives through another multilateral body. For example, the United States and other (mainly developed) countries have conducted negotiations on shipbuilding and investment within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, but with mixed success. Another option is to seek trade benefits through regional or bilateral agreements.

These agreements can bring benefits to the United States. Exporters and are easier to negotiate. However, some argue that regional and bilateral agreements could lead to trade distractions and divert the attention of the United States and other countries from the potentially greater benefits of multilateral negotiations. The Sixth Ministerial Conference was held in Hong Kong from 13 to 18 December 2005. Although one of the initial objectives of the Ministerial Conference was to agree on a set of modalities for the ongoing round of trade negotiations in the Doha Development Framework (DDA), this objective was abandoned and members agreed on modest progress in the areas of agriculture, industrial tariffs and duty- and quota-free access for least developed countries. However, these advantages must be weighed against one drawback: by excluding certain countries, these agreements can shift the composition of trade from low-wage countries that are not parties to the agreement to high-cost countries. The United States is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement) establishes rules for trade among the 154 WTO Members. The United States and other WTO members are currently participating in the Doha Round of Global Trade Negotiations for Development, and a strong and open Doha Agreement on markets for goods and services would be an important contribution to overcoming the global economic crisis and restoring the role of trade in economic growth and development.

One of the difficulties of the WTO system in recent years has been the problem of maintaining and expanding the liberal world trading system. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the demand for consensus among the many WTO members limits the scope of trade reform agreements. As Mike Moore, a new Director-General of the WTO, said, the organization is like a car with an accelerator and 140 handbrakes. While multilateral efforts have reduced tariffs on industrial products, they have had much less success in liberalizing trade in agriculture, textiles and clothing, as well as in other areas of international trade. Recent negotiations, such as the Doha Development Round, have encountered problems and their ultimate success is uncertain. 5. What is the role of Congress in U.S. participation in the WTO? Although the executive has staff in Geneva and conducts trade negotiations at the WTO, Congress plays an important role in how the United States participates in the WTO through its constitutional authority over the conduct of foreign trade. In the legislation of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) (P.L. 107-210), which approved expedited procedures for laws implementing trade agreements passed in 2002, Congress imposed trade targets on U.S.

negotiators and called on the executive branch to consult with them. During negotiations, Congress retains oversight, and the Congressional Oversight Group, established under P.L. 107-210, has an active advisory role. Once an implementing bill has been introduced, Congress decides whether or not to approve the legislative changes needed to implement the trade agreement. Current APT legislation expired in July 2007, and Congress can renew or renew the APT if an agreement on the Doha Round is reached. Congress could also consider changes to U.S. trade laws in response to possible adverse rulings in WTO dispute settlement procedures. The following table lists all States Members of the United Nations and Observer States of the United Nations that are neither members nor observers of the WTO.

[15] The WTO addresses the regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by establishing a framework for the negotiation of trade agreements and a dispute settlement procedure to enforce WTO agreements by participants signed by representatives of member governments[8]: fol.9-10 and ratified by their parliaments. [9] The WTO prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security and other important objectives. [10] Trade disputes are settled by independent WTO judges in dispute settlement proceedings. [10] Decisions in the WTO are made by Members, not staff, and are made by consensus rather than formally. The supreme body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which is the body of political representatives (trade ministers) of each member state. (See the structure of the WTO in Appendix B.) The Ministerial Conference reviews current programmes and sets the agenda for future work. It must meet at least every two years. WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy de France, whose three-year term was appointed on 1 October. September 2005.3 The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that preceded the WTO was created in 1947 after the Second World War by a multilateral treaty of 23 countries following other new multilateral institutions dedicated to international economic cooperation, such as the World Bank (founded in 1944) and the International Monetary Fund (established in 1944 or 1945). A comparable international institution for trade, the International Trade Organization, never started like the United States. and other signatories did not ratify the founding treaty[23],[24][25] and so the GATT slowly became a de facto international organization. [26] Although the WTO embodies the principle of non-discrimination in international trade, Article 24 of the GATT allows for the formation of free trade areas and “customs unions” among WTO Members.

A free trade area is a group of countries that abolish all tariffs on trade between them, but retain autonomy in setting their tariffs with non-members. A customs union is a group of countries that abolish all tariffs on trade between them, but maintain a common external tariff on trade with countries outside the union (which technically violates the most-favoured-nation clause). The WTO is the most important international organization governing world trade. Decisions are taken by the Member States. The WTO has 151 members and 31 observer governments (most of which have applied to become members), and its members account for more than 95% of world trade. Decisions at the highest level are taken at the Ministerial Conference, which is the meeting of the trade ministers of the Member States. The Ministerial Conference shall meet at least every two years. The General Council is the body of national representatives that oversees the day-to-day operations of the WTO. The General Council meets approximately every month. It also performs two other functions: it reviews national trade policy and oversees the dispute settlement process. The General Council has many committees, working groups and other bodies.

Despite the potential tensions between the two approaches, it appears that multilateral and bilateral/regional trade agreements will remain hallmarks of the global economy. However, the WTO and agreements like NAFTA have become controversial among groups like anti-globalization protesters, arguing that such agreements serve the interests of multinationals rather than those of workers, even though trade liberalization has been a proven method of improving economic performance and increasing overall revenues. .