There has been significant evolution of the global economy in recent years, culminating in the setting up of the World Trade Organization (WTO), 1 Jan 1995, replacing the [General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs] (GATT) which had been operative from 1 Jan 1948. Other recent developments include the activities of prominent multilateral organizations including the World Bank (IBRD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Group of Seven (G-7). There are calls to include China and Russia in the G-7 framework given their political and (potential) economic importance.
The organization General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has been replaced as of 1 January 1995, by the new World Trade Organization (WTO) upon signature, by 104 countries, of the Final Act of the [Uruguay Round] (15 April 1994, Marrakech) by 111 countries and of the [Marrakech Agreement]. The WTO covers the previous activities of the GATT, oversees an estimated US$ 6 million million trade annually and provides a legal mechanism to administer the [Uruguay Round]. [GATT 1947] continued to exist to end 1995, allowing GATT member countries to accede to WTO and permitting an overlap in activities. [GATT 1994] is an integral part of the WTO Agreement. The WTO framework ensures a "single undertaking approach" to the results of the [Uruguay Round] so that membership in the WTO entails accepting all the results of the Round without exception. WTO has a potentially larger membership than GATT and much broader scope in terms of commercial activity and trade policies to which it applies. Whereas GATT applied only to trade in merchandise goods, the WTO covers trade in goods, services and intellectual property, services being covered in the separate agreement [General Agreement on Trade in Services] (GATS). The WTO aims are to provide the principal contractual obligations determining how governments frame and implement domestic trade legislation and regulations; administer and implement the multilateral and plurilateral trade agreements which together make up WTO; act as a forum for multilateral trade negotiations; seek to resolve trade disputes; oversee national trade policies.
2. Economic cooperation should respect environmental limits, preserve and enhance biodiversity as well as promote social justice and equity. The polluter pays principle and the precautionary principle should be incorporated in all trade negotiation and cooperation sectors.