Benefits of the WTO

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The development of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was a large development from the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). While both institutions had the ultimate goal of increasing international trade and cooperation, the WTO provides a permanent institutional structure whereas the GATT was much more of a provisional framework of loose rules and agreements between states. In the WTO members must conform to all the agreements made by the organization and are not allowed to pick and choose which ones they would follow as they were able to do with the GATT. Perhaps one of the most important developments of the WTO over the GATT is that the WTO agreement covers services and intellectual property as well as simply the trade of goods. This provision is most important to the developed countries as they are the states with the comparative advantages in these areas. Under the GATT the international body was unable to control tariffs on services. As the international powers are service based economies, the WTO ensured that the world powers would be able to maintain competitive prices internationally in the service industries.