Just Sociology

The WTO: Biases Criticisms and Challenges in International Trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global institution that was created to facilitate international trade and promote the growth of the world economy. However, the WTO has been the subject of criticism from various quarters, particularly developing countries that feel disadvantaged by its functioning.

This article will explore the history, functioning, criticisms, and challenges of the WTO, with a special focus on the biases and harmful effects of its policies.

History and Functioning of the WTO

The WTO resulted from the 1994 Uruguay Round of negotiations to revise the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was established in 1947 to regulate international trade. The WTO is responsible for creating and enforcing trade rules, helps negotiate new trade agreements, and arbitrates disputes between member countries.

It covers trade in goods, services, and intellectual property, among others. The WTO promotes free trade, reduces tariffs, and restricts subsidies for domestic industries.

The goal is to prevent unfair competition and create a level playing field for all countries. However, some argue that free trade policies may disproportionately benefit the developed countries, like the United States and Europe, at the expense of developing countries.

Criticisms of the WTO

One of the main criticisms of the WTO is that it is biased in favor of the developed countries, particularly the West. Critics argue that the WTO perpetuates Western domination at the expense of developing countries’ interests.

The undemocratic decision-making process is also another criticism, with many member countries feeling that their voices are not being heard. Free trade priority over worker’s rights and environmental protection is another criticism of the WTO.

The policies pushed by the organization tend to favor transnational corporations (TNCs) and rich countries at the expense of poor countries and democracy.

Challenges Faced by the WTO

The WTO faces several significant challenges that can affect its functioning. One of the most pressing challenges is that it is understaffed and has limited experience.

Another challenge is that many countries do not feel adequately represented, leading to strains in the decision-making process. Finally, there is a lack of participation from some countries, particularly developing countries.

Unfair Trade Rules

One of the most prominent criticisms of the WTO is that its rules tend to favor the interests of TNCs and rich countries at the expense of developing countries. Some of these criticisms include pressured open economies, taxes on Western imports, and rigged terms of global trade.

Critics argue that the organization is biased in favor of rich countries and TNCs, leading to inequality in economic outcomes.

Biased Decision-making

Another criticism of the WTO is that it lacks representation and democratic decision-making processes. Critics suggest there is a small group of Western members who dominate the organization.

Critics also argue that the WTO’s prioritization of free trade comes at the expense of worker’s rights and environmental protections.

Harm to Workers and the Environment

Critics of the WTO argue that free trade prioritization hinders worker’s rights and environmental protection. Free trade policies tend to create a race to the bottom in which workers’ rights and the environment are undervalued in favor of profit maximization.

Critics argue that this is a major concern for developing countries.


The WTO is a critical organization in the global economy. However, the critiques and challenges faced show that there is room for improvement.

The WTO needs to be more representative in its decision-making processes, increase member participation, and focus on providing equal opportunities for all economies, both developed and developing. This will promote a fair and sustainable global trading system while protecting human rights and the environment.

In conclusion, the World Trade Organization is an essential institution that plays a crucial role in promoting global economic growth and ensuring fair trading practices. However, criticisms of the WTO’s biases, decision-making, and harmful effects on workers and the environment highlight the need for continued improvement.

By increasing representation, promoting equal opportunities, and prioritizing human rights and environmental protection, the WTO can create a more balanced and sustainable global trading system.


Q: What is the World Trade Organization?

A: The World Trade Organization is a global institution that promotes international trade and helps negotiate new trade agreements. Q: What are the main criticisms of the WTO?

A: The main criticisms of the WTO include biases in favor of the developed countries, undemocratic decision-making, and harmful effects on workers and the environment. Q: What challenges does the WTO face?

A: The WTO faces several challenges, including understaffing, limited experience, and lack of representation, particularly from developing countries. Q: How can the WTO improve?

A: The WTO can improve by being more representative, increasing member participation, and prioritizing human rights and environmental protection. Q: What is the main goal of the WTO?

A: The main goal of the WTO is to promote free trade, reduce tariffs, and restrict subsidies for domestic industries.

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