WTO negotiations concensus agreements

WTO agreements & members

WTO Multilateral VS Plurilateral

WTO Multilateral VS Plurilateral agreements:

Multilateralism refers to having all 166 WTO members engaging in discussions & agreement at WTO, the plurilateral agreement is only negotiated by a coalition of the willing.

The Multilateral agreements are binding on all WTO Members and must be ratified, together with the WTO Agreement, as a whole. Plurilateral agreements are optional in character and only obligate those members which choose to ratify them.

WTO from being an organization of individual countries, that debated endlessly to arrive at agreements, has evolved to being represented by associations on behalf of countries to wind up negotiations and agreements faster.

Coalition-building is partly the natural result of economic integration — more customs unions, free trade areas and common markets are being set up around the world.

On 26 February 2024, at the 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, Comoros and Timor Leste became the 165th and 166th members.

There is no WTO definition of “developed” or “developing” countries.

The WTO budget is over 160 million Swiss francs with individual contributions calculated on the basis of shares in the total trade conducted by WTO members. USA is the biggest contributor.

Important negotiating groups at WTO

WTO Multilateral VS Plurilateral agreements:

Important negotiating groups at WTO.

  • G-20, which includes Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, South Africa, Thailand and many others, but there are other, overlapping “Gs” too.
  • Cotton Four (C-4), an alliance of sub-Saharan countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad lobbying for trade reform in the sector.
  • European Unionand its member states is The largest and most comprehensive group. The EU is a customs union with a single external trade policy and tariff. While the member states coordinate their position in Brussels and Geneva, the European Commission alone speaks for the EU at almost all WTO meetings.
  • The EU is a WTO member in its own right as are each of its member states.
  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)— Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Viet Nam. (The remaining member Laos is applying to join the WTO.)
  • MERCOSUR, the Southern Common Market(Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru as associate members),
  • North American Free Trade Agreement: NAFTA(Canada, US and Mexico).
  • The African Group, the least-developed countries, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP)and the Latin American Economic System (SELA).

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