Amrita Narlikar is University Lecturer in International Relations at the Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge. She held a lectureship at the University of Exeter (2003-04) and a Junior Research Fellowship at St John's College, Oxford (1999-2003). Her research interests lie in the areas of trade negotiations, developing countries and international economic organizations.
The World Trade Organization: A Very Short Introductionby Amrita Narlikar
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The World Trade Organization (WTO) is scarcely ten years old, but even in these early years of its existence it has generated debate, controversy and even outrage. Rulings on beef hormones and tuna-dolphin cases provide graphic examples of how the organization regulates and intrudes into areas of individual consumer choice, ethical preferences, and cultural habits. This deep and far-ranging impact of the WTO on peoples' everyday lives means that it is not just an institution of interest to economists, but to everyone, a fact that was perhaps most graphically illustrated in the popular demonstrations at the 1999 Seattle Ministerial. Such protests have become a regular feature associated with most high-level meetings of the WTO. This VSI will provide a timely and carefully considered explanation of what the WTO is, what it does, and how it goes about executing its tasks. A clear understanding of the mandate, structure and functioning of the WTO is essential to appreciate the controversy behind the organization, and how far it deserves the reputation that it has come to acquire. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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Of the three major international financial organisations, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Trade Organization (WTO), the last one is by far the youngest, yet it garners most headline news and controversy these days. In order to understand why, it is worthwhile to invest some time in reading about the origins of WTO in General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the organization that preceded it, as well as to understand how agreements are brokered and reached in WTO. This book provides a useful and informative introduction to WTO that answers those general questions fairly well. However, one gets a sense that the motivation behind the book was somewhat geared in direction of the critics of the WTO, rather than providing a more balanced account of the purposes and goals of the organization. In books defense it covers the origin and ramifications of the most recent controversial issues involving WTO fairly well, and it would be a useful and informative read for anyone interested in some basic facts about this organization.