The syllabus requirements:

4.4 World Trade Organization (WTO)
• Aims
• Success and failure viewed from different perspectives

Accordingly, your goal from learning about this part of the syllabus should be to be able to answer the following questions:

1) What are the aims of the World Trade Organisation?

2) What are some of the positive contributions of the World Trade Organisation to the world trading system? Evaluate these advantages and, in particular, identify the stakeholders who would agree that these are advantages with reasons for their agreement.

3) What are some of the criticisms made against the World Trade Organisation? Evaluate these advantages and, in particular, identify the stakeholders who would agree that these are disadvantages with reasons for their disagreement.

Image: Some rights reserved by World Trade Organization

A flash-based slideshow courtesy of the guardian gives an historical introduction:

WTO – A Brief History

This infographic by sums up the main aims of the WTO:

History and functions of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

The ever reliable mjmfoodie gives us a introduction to GATT, which later became WTO. It gives us the history, moving on to the reasons for the WTO (aims). It is quite pro-WTO in its approach:

Episode 37: GATT/WTO by mjmfoodie (4’ 38”)

This is an impressive student project on the same topic which gets very detailed about membership requirements, but then moves on to the main aims of the WTO, which is useful for our syllabus requirements:

World Trade Organization by sdhettige (9’28”)

The World Trade Organisation is a documentary excerpt posted online by journeymanpicturesIt is good for the historic set-up of the WTO (originally GATT – what was this?), and the various Rounds which shaped its development. It is also good for an overview of some global economic developments (such as the 1970s World Oil Crises) that are useful to know about in general for IB Economics.

Click here to view the video.

This next video is an engaging infographic on some of the difficulties faced by Kenya. Kenya’s WTO membership required in trade liberalisation (reduction of protectionism). This video is biased, but puts forwards some pretty clear arguments against the imposed trade regulations placed by rich Western/Northern economies, which some argue the WTO simply supports at the expense of poorer economies such as Kenya. Remember, the syllabus expects us to see the issue from different perspectives.

Animation: Trade Justice – why world trade rules need to change by tradeaid (2’ 28’”)

Michael Moore is a renowned political commentator/critic famous for a number of documentary films. In this clip he is clearly very critical of the WTO, giving a more extreme view of its possible ‘failure’:

Michael Moore by ProtestGlobalisation

Next we have short interview clips with various stakeholders in the Philippines, giving strong criticism of the potential effects of trade liberalisation, as actively encouraged by the WTO, on such a LDC.

Why WTO is Bad for Developing Countries by ymataglenn (3’ 46”)

Finally, ‘CuteChadz’, a student, sets out her own revision-focused overview of the World Trade Organisation:

A2 Economics: World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 8 mins by CuteChadz