Overview of the WTO and the historical controversy surrounding the Seattle Riots. Touches on the future of the WTO.

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World Trade Organization

Trade, while complex and dynamic, is a vital tool for the development of a country's economy. For several years in the aftermath of World War II, nations around the world were busy rebuilding and creating prosperous economies. It was determined during this period that it was important to setup an international body whose sole objective was to arbitrate trade disputes through peaceful negotiations; therefore, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was created in 1947. During the post-WW II period of expansion, the economies of western countries grew in leaps and bounds. This was made possible due to efficient uses of resources during peacetime. At the same time, the world saw severe divisions both militarily and politically. Nations were divided between two super blocs; NATO led by the United States of America and The WARSAW Pact led by the former USSR. Western countries continued to progress while several countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia failed to achieve the same levels of expansion.

This created an economic polarization which stimulated the assessment of the current practices. GDP and per-capita GDP of developed countries were significantly high compared to developing countries. There was a growing need for countries to engage in worldwide trade. Nations realized that there were great benefits in creating an independent international forum through which tried-and-true economic policies could be shared for the betterment of developing nations. GATT did not have the necessary power to effect economic changes in other countries. After a series of negotiations, on January 1, 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) replaced the GATT.

The World Trade Organization is an international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. It was created as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations between 1986 and 1994. There are currently 150...