One of the challenges of the WTO system has been the maintenance and expansion of the liberal global trading system in recent years. Multilateral negotiations on trade liberalization are progressing very slowly and the need for consensus among the many WTO members limits the scope of trade reform agreements. As Mike Moore, a new WTO Director General, said, the organization is like a car with an accelerator pedal and 140 hand brakes. While multilateral efforts have reduced tariffs on industrial products, they have been much less successful in liberalizing trade in agriculture, textiles and clothing, as well as in other sectors of international trade. Recent negotiations, such as the Doha Development Round, have been difficult and their ultimate success is uncertain. Trade agreements designated by the WTO as preferential agreements are also referred to as regional agreements (RTAs), although they are not necessarily concluded by countries within a given region. Currently, 205 agreements are in effect as of July 2007. More than 300 people have been notified to the WTO. [10] The number of free trade agreements has increased significantly over the past decade. Between 1948 and 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), predecessor to the WTO, received 124 notifications. Since 1995, more than 300 trade agreements have been concluded. [11] The WTO also provides information on trade issues between member states.

When one country`s government accuses another country`s government of violating world trade rules, a WTO panel settles the dispute. (The panel`s judgment may be appealed to an appellate body.) If the WTO finds that the government of a Member State has not complied with the agreements it has signed, the member is obliged to change its policy and bring it in line with the rules. If the member finds it politically impossible to change his policy, he can offer compensation to other countries in the form of lower obstacles to other goods. If it decides not to do so, other countries may obtain WTO authorization to impose higher tariffs (i.e. „retaliation“) on products originating in the Member State concerned because they have not complied. Even in the absence of the constraints imposed by the most favoured nation and national treatment clauses, it is sometimes easier to obtain general multilateral agreements than separate bilateral agreements. In many cases, the potential loss resulting from a concession to a country is almost as great as that which would result from a similar concession to many countries. The benefits to the most efficient producers from global tariff reductions are significant enough to warrant substantial concessions. Since the implementation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, 1948) and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO, 1995), global tariffs have declined considerably and world trade has increased.

The WTO contains provisions on reciprocity, the status of the most favoured nation and the domestic treatment of non-tariff restrictions. She has been involved in the architecture of the most comprehensive and important multilateral trade agreements of modern times. The North American Free Trade Agreement (1993) and the European Free Trade Association (1995) are examples of these trade agreements and their representative institutions. There are a large number of trade agreements; some are quite complex (the European Union), while others are less intense (North American free trade agreement). [8] The resulting level of economic integration depends on the specific type of trade pacts and policies adopted by the trade bloc: together, these agreements mean that about half of the goods entering the United States enter duty-free, according to the government. The average import duty on industrial products is 2%. The European Union is now a remarkable example of free trade. Member States form a largely borderless unit for commercial purposes, and the introduction of the EU