International Trade law is the set of rules and regulations which form their base over the various agreements and MOU’S between the countries. International trade is governed by the agreements and other international conventions of which a particular country is a signatory. International trade between different countries is an important factor in raising living standards, providing employment and enabling consumers to enjoy a greater variety of goods.
International trade has occurred since the earliest civilizations began trading, but in recent years international trade has become increasingly important with a larger share of GDP devoted to exports and imports.
International trade law has bilateral trade agreements, regional trade agreements and multinational trade agreements. Each of these agreements has its own history, policies and dispute settlement procedures. Furthermore, individual countries have their own policies and laws relating to international trade.
The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) is one such agreement which was enacted in 1947 by 100 countries as an attempt to reduce the number of tariffs and trade barriers and to foster international trade in the years following World War II.
The World Trade Organization is also a result of round of trade negotiation under the GATT. The WTO is a multilateral organization with the mandate to establish enforceable trade rules, to act as a dispute settlement body and to provide a forum for further negotiations into reducing trade barriers.
WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION
Established in 1994 and in operation since 1995, the World Trade Organization is a large and formal, international organization that creates rules for international trade. In 1995, the World Trade Organization, a formal international organization to regulate trade, was established. It is the most important development in the history of international trade law.
The purposes and structure of the organization is governed by the Agreement Establishing The World Trade Organization, also known as the “Marrakesh Agreement”. It does not specify the actual rules that govern international trade in specific areas. These are found in separate treaties, annexed to the Marrakesh Agreement.
There are five guiding principles in the World Trade Organization:
- Non-discrimination – All member countries must grant the same, favorable conditions for trade to other member countries. They must apply uniform rules to every country in the organization. Once a product is in the country, the standards must be the same as they are for domestic products with regards to technology specifications and other requirements.
- Reciprocity – Member states should work towards lowering barriers for trade in exchange for the same concessions from other countries.
- Agreements are enforceable – Member countries may raise disputes and have those disputes heard exclusively in the jurisdiction of the World Trade Organization.
- Transparency – Countries must publish their trade regulations and make them accessible. They must also respond to direct requests for information.
- Safety – It’s permissible to restrict trade for environmental safety, public health or plant and animal safety.