World Trade Organization to be led by a woman for first time

Published: October 8, 2020

Established in 1995, the World Trade Organization has not yet had an opportunity to run under a woman director. For the first time, in its history the WTO will be led by woman. The selection committee of the organization has announced that South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee and Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo Iweala are the two finalists to become the next Director General.

Highlights

The previous director general Roverto Azevedo faced intense pressure from the US Government repeatedly accusing WTO of unfair treatment. He had to leave a year earlier due to continuous pressures.

Organizational Structure of WTO

The highest authority of WTO is the Ministerial Conference. The first ministerial conference was held in Singapore. It meets every two years. The WTO body consists of a general council, Dispute Settlement Body and Trade Policy Review Body.

General Council

Three councils of WTO report to General Council. They are Council for Trade in goods or the Goods Council, Council for Trade in Services called the Services Council and the TRIPS Council or the Council for Trade related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Trade Policy Review Body

The body takes the policy reviews of members and is thus open to all WTO members.

Dispute Settlement Body

It establishes dispute settlement panels, refers matters to arbitration, authorises suspension of concessions, maintain surveillance.

Marrakesh Agreement

The WTO was established under the Marrakesh Agreement. It replaced the GATT Agreement. GATT is General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

India and WTO

Recently, WTO established two dispute settlement panels targeting import duties imposed by India in several Information and Communication Technology products. India imposed 10% custom duty on ICT products in 2017. It was further increased to 20%. The move is opposed by USA, EU, Japan, Singapore, China, Canada and Thailand.

The goods covered were machines for reception, telephones for wireless networks, transmission and conversion of images, voice, etc.

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