WTO Negotiations + Doha Round
The World Trade Organisation or WTO is an international organisation dealing with the rules of conduct of trade between countries. Its chief mandate is to ensure that global trade runs in as free, smooth and predictable a manner as possible. It aims at improving global trade by reducing tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers. The WTO came into existence on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement. This agreement was signed by 123 countries on April 15, 1994 replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO provides a framework for negotiations between nations. There is also a dispute resolution procedure whereby participating countries are asked to adhere to the WTO agreements. The agreements are signed by the member countries through their representatives and then ratified by their respective parliaments.
The latest round of negotiations engaged by the WTO is called the Doha Development Round or the Doha Development Agenda or simply the Doha Round. It started in November 2001 at Qatar, Doha with the purpose of lowering trade barriers and facilitate more trade in the world. Many ministerial meetings took place after the initial meeting. But the process broke down due to disagreements chiefly between developed and developing countries. The major bones of contention are agriculture, non-tariff trade barriers, industrial tariffs, services and trade remedies. The developing nations are led by India, China, South Africa and Brazil. The Bali Ministerial Declaration was achieved in 2013 which is the first agreement under the Doha Round, and also the first unanimous agreement under WTO. After that however, the Doha Round is in a state of impasse and its future is uncertain.