The WTO: An Utne Field Guide

| November / December 2005

Everything you need to know about the World Trade Organization

Proponents call the World Trade Organization the solution to global poverty and the key to Third World development. Detractors say it's an enemy of democracy and a corporate tool. Heated rhetoric aside, there's little doubt that in the decade since it was founded, the WTO has had a greater impact on the global economy than any other institution. Besides knowing that activists broke windows and got tear-gassed in Seattle protesting against it in 1999, however, most people don't really know what the WTO is or why it's so important to so many. As the world's trade ministers prepare for the next WTO meeting in Hong Kong December 13 to 18, we present a field guide to the global trading system, the issues that will be on the agenda, and the players who are wrangling over the future of the global economy. -- The Editors

Nonagricultural market access, bilateral free-trade agreements, tariff-reduction coefficients, sensitive products and special safeguard mechanisms, negotiating modalities, non-tariff barriers . . .