World Trade Organization: Background and Issues [Updated January 31, 2008]   [open pdf - 146KB]

From the Summary: "The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established on January 1, 1995, under an agreement reached during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Uruguay Round was the last of a series of periodic trade negotiations held under the auspices of the WTO's predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). […] Trade agreements administered by the WTO cover a broad range of goods and services trade and apply to virtually all government practices that directly relate to trade, for example tariffs, subsidies, government procurement, and trade-related intellectual property rights. The WTO agreements are based on the principle of non-discriminatory treatment among countries. Some exceptions however, such as preferential treatment for developing countries, are allowed. Other basic principles of the WTO are open information on rules and regulations, negotiated limits on trade barriers, and settlement of disputes under specific procedures. The 110th Congress may examine the relationship between the United States and the WTO in two ways. Congress may consider implementing legislation for a potential Doha Round agreement. U.S. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expired on July 1, 2007, however, Congress may extend or reauthorize TPA to consider such an agreement. Secondly, Congress may consider changes to U.S. laws in response to WTO dispute settlement procedures."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, 98-928
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