The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization that regulates and promotes free trade among member countries. The WTO Agreement is a set of rules and principles that govern international trade between member countries. Based on these principles, the WTO works to ensure that trade flows smoothly, predictably, and freely.
The principle that underlies the WTO Agreement is the principle of non-discrimination. This means that member countries should treat all other member countries equally and not discriminate against them in any way. There are two main aspects to this principle:
1. Most Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment
Under the MFN Treatment principle, member countries must treat all other member countries equally in terms of trade. This means that member countries cannot discriminate against any other member country in terms of tariffs or other trade barriers. If a member country grants a concession or a preferential treatment to a particular country, it must extend the same concession or treatment to all other member countries.
2. National Treatment
The National Treatment principle requires that member countries treat foreign goods and services in the same way as they treat their own goods and services. This means that member countries cannot discriminate against foreign goods or services in favor of their domestic goods or services.
Other principles that are included in the WTO Agreement include:
1. Free Trade
The WTO supports the liberalization of trade by reducing tariffs, removing barriers to trade, and promoting free trade.
2. Fair Competition
The WTO promotes fair competition by prohibiting unfair trade practices, such as dumping and subsidies.
3. Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
The WTO protects intellectual property rights by setting standards for the protection of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
4. Dispute Settlement
The WTO provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between member countries in a fair and impartial manner.
In conclusion, the WTO Agreement is based on the principle of non-discrimination, which requires member countries to treat all other member countries equally in terms of trade. The WTO also promotes free trade, fair competition, the protection of intellectual property rights, and provides a mechanism for dispute settlement. By adhering to these principles, the WTO works to ensure that trade flows smoothly, predictably, and freely among its member countries.