Over three quarters of WTO members are developing or least developed countries, and WTO agreements contain special provision for them. These include longer time periods to implement agreements and commitments, measures to increase their trading opportunities, and infrastructure support.
The principles and objectives of the WTO try to emphasize the benefits for all its members, and with 150 of them and 30 others negotiating membership, the vast majority of the worlds nations therefore believe in the organisation. However the organisation still has a bad reputation with most criticism from people worried about the effects of free trade and globalisation. While the WTO pushes the implementation of its objectives and policies, questions are still raised about the absolute cost of free trade especially on poor countries, and the environment.
There is the perception that the organisation is run by the rich countries, for the rich countries and worsening the situation of the poor and this free trade certainly isnt free. For example in 2005, US customs officials collected $280 million on Cambodias modest $1.8 billion in exports nearly as much as the $350 million on $34 billion worth of French exports. Developing countries increasingly have to give up safeguards that developed nations had during their early stages of growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) admitted that forcing free trade onto developing countries does not work and would actually increase the risk of financial crisis.
One major contentious issue is about subsidies by rich countries to their farmers. The WTO is criticised for allowing these countries especially in the European Union (EU) and United States (US) to allow payments of subsidies to their farmers, while tariff protections which are a key source of income for farmers in developing countries have been reduced in the same period. EU olive-oil subsidies for example pay Spani View More »