The World Trade Organization Role in Economics

Purpose/aims of WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) serves several functions. It is pertinent to mention that WTO was set up as a permanent organization to champion the growth and development of commerce. It is a watchdog body that oversees intellectual property rights, foreign investment, and trade-in services. The purpose of WTO has been explained in article three.

To begin with, WTO facilitates the formation and implementation of Multilateral Trade Agreements among member countries. The Plurilateral Trade Agreements are also championed by WTO (Irogbe, 2013). The organization is equally charged with the role of organizing forums though which the member countries can negotiate trade deals. In addition, the organization assists in the settlement of disputes that may arise among member states. It achieves the latter by applying the various rules and procedures stipulated by the organization. The Trade Policy Review Mechanism is also administered by the World Trade Organization. The body is also mandated to cooperate with IMF and other development partners in the rder to achieve its goals and objectives.

In terms of the aims and objectives of WTO, the organization has a broad objective of executing new world trade systems as mandated in its trade agreement. It also aims at promoting global trade so that all the member countries can fully benefit. WTO also serves the purpose of balancing the benefits and advantages derived from international trade so that even the developing and underdeveloped countries can share the available opportunities (Irogbe, 2013). Moreover, WTO aims at eliminating all trading barriers that may hinder smooth operation and the expected profitability of global trade. The trading partners are also enabled to trade competitively across the global trading platform. This eventually assists in the global integration of trading activities. WTO also aims at boosting the overall level of production across the globe to improve the state of employment. Other aims of WTO include improving the standards of living and optimizing the global use of both natural and man-made resources.

Multilateral agreements

The pillars of the World Trade Organization are generally non-discriminatory. Both the intellectual property and trading in goods and services are supposed to harmonize all the multilateral trading agreements. All the regional trading agreements that are aligned to WTO are expected to be uniform across the board. Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of trading agreements among member countries. Since 1992, close to 40 new multilateral trade agreements have been notified through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Most member countries have partnerships in at least two trade agreements. This indicates how WTO has expanded and championed the growth and development of trade at the global level. The regulations of the multilateral trading systems have posed major implications in the overall trading partnerships.

International Labor Organization

On the other hand, the International Labor Organization (ILO) champions the rights of workers across the globe (García, 2008). It ensures that the working conditions are up to international standards. Its also offers the expected labor standards so that all the working programs and policies can be shaped across the world. The organization was established way back in 1919 immediately after the end of the First World War. Its broad aim at the time of inception was to pursue social justice at the place of work because it was considered as the only premise through which universal peace would be sustained. By 1946, the organization was made the first specialized agency under the watchful eye of the United Nations Organization.

Critics

One of the areas that the International Labor Organization has pioneered is the fight against child labor. However, it has been criticized for the poor performance of this rothe le. The program dubbed the International Elimination of Child labor was incepted by ILO so that child labor could be eradicated in the face of humanity. The program has lasted for over two decades. ILO has also been criticized for ignoring the plight of poor nations, especially in regards to pushing for reforms in the local labor laws.

Developing countries and the protection of women and minorities

The priority concern of the International Labor Organization (ILO) is to combat the menace of forced labor. The latter is common in developing nations. Universal standards have been adopted to safeguard global citizens against all forms of forced labor. Several fundamental principles were enacted in 1998 so that all the member states could adhere to them. The protection of women and minority groups at the workplace is also another key concern of ILO. For example, standard working hours and cases of sexual harassment are addressed in the ILO labor charter. The issue of the minimum wage law is part and parcel of the concerns of ILO because several developing nations are yet to meet the expected standards.

Child labor

Child labor is common in most developing countries and low-income earning economies. Countries that have been hit by civil war often end up as hot spots for child labor. WTO ensures that children victimized through child labor are freed and allowed to live normal lives. Universal working hours have been adopted by ILO. The organization recommends poverty eradication as one viable solution to child labor. Improving the standard of education in poor economies can also minimize cases of child labor.

Sexual harassment

Unhealthy working practice, such as sexual harassment is prohibited. There are strict labor laws that have been enacted by partner organizations so that employees can be fully protected. Several member organizations have taken the mandate of ensuring that sexual harassment does not flourish at the workplace. Victims of sexual harassment should be provided with legal and psychological help at the workplace.

Hours of work

The World Trade Organization propagates full employment of workers (Trakman, 2008). This implies that employers have the role of ensuring that their employees have a favorable working condition. In the United Arab Emirates, the WTO trading agreement has been adopted and implemented across several organizations. It is agreeable that most organizations in my country have been negatively affected by free trade agreements. For instance, employers have been compelled to lower the pay rates of workers to meet the high competitive standards in the market.

Most free trade agreements often promote competitive trading practices across the board. As a result, local business organizations in the United Arab Emirates have been exposed to external competition from the giant trading partners. Unfair competition has culminated into poor working conditions of workers hired in small scale organizations. Most of these employees have to work for long hours without any significant rise in allowances (Trakman, 2008). Worse still, employees working in small firms have experienced pay cuts so that their organizations can remain profitable. In any case, the large and well-established corporations are the only ones that tend to benefit from the free trade agreements.

Long working hours, poor wages, and working conditions have worsened the relationship between employers and employees. As it stands now, there is rampant job fear among several employees working in the United Arab Emirates. The trade deals are mostly created by giant corporations since they understand that over 90% of the accrued benefits are transferred to them (Trakman, 2008).

A constrained working environment can hardly permit optimum productivity of workers. Employers are no longer interested in motivating employees. Lack of motivation at workplace coupled with low wages and salaries have weakened the strong relationship and trust that used to prevail between employers and employees. Co-determination or shared responsibility is apparently missing in most workplaces today. For example, employees are suspicious of employers that their jobs are never secure. Lack of job security in several UAE firms has eliminated shared responsibility among employees. In other words, workers no longer share the common visions of their organizations because they are not certain if they will be employed for long. Lack of co-determination has also been witnessed among workers who are performing poorly at workplace. Any employee who is not productive at workplace is likely to be lacking a crucial co-determination.

Employees and employers do not work in close quarters in organizations that have been negatively affected by the free trade agreements. The absence of friendship between the two players implies that respect and dignity at the workplace have also been eroded in some of the organizations. Employers do not value the close presence of employees because they tend to evade any form of workplace negotiations that may improve the working conditions of employees (Trakman, 2008).

In recap, it can be concluded that the provisions of the World Trade Organization and the free trade agreements have mainly benefited large, well-established economies. Small emerging firms have been negatively affected due to the stiff and unfair competition that has culminated into poor employer-employee relationships. However, the International Labor Organization strives to champion the welfare of workers. Areas of concern include the minimum wage law, child labor, and the protection of women and minorities.

References

García, M. R. (2008). The international labor organization: Past and present. International Labor and Working Class History, 74(1), 225-227.

Irogbe, K. (2013). Globalization and the world trade organization from the perspective of the underdeveloped world. The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 38(2), 174-202.

Trakman, L. E. (2008). The proliferation of free trade agreements: Bane or beauty? Journal of World Trade, 42(2), 367-388.