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UNCTAD UN/ECEWIPO WTO

Romania at WTO

The WTO (http://www.wto.org) was established on 1st of January 1995, being the successor of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), signed on 30 October 1947 and entered into force on 1st January 1948.

The aim of the GATT, representing together with the World Bank and the International Monetary Found the so called "Bretton Woods" institutions established after the second world war, was to agree on trade rules and disciplines based on the basic principles of non-discrimination (i.e. most favoured nation treatment and national treatment), the free and fair competition between all participants, and progressive liberalization of international trade.

Until the end of 1994 eight Rounds of multilateral trade negotiations have taken place under the GATT aegis, the main objective being the progressive liberalization of international trade.

The last Round of negotiations in GATT's history was the Uruguay Round, launched in 1986 at the Punta de Este Ministerial Conference, being the most important in the history of the multilateral trading system both through the level of commitments taken and through the agreed package of legal framework and instruments. The Uruguay Round negotiations have been concluded within the Final Act signed in Marrakech in April 1994 by 124 countries and separate customs territories, through which was agreed to create the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the legal successor of the GATT system.

The WTO is the only international organization establishing trade rules between nations. These rules are embodied in the WTO Agreements and are negotiated, signed and ratified by the Member states Parliaments; the main objective of these agreements is to support the producers of goods and services, the exporters and importers in carrying out their activities.

The main difference between WTO and GATT is that WTO includes not only rules on trade in goods but also rules on trade in services, trade-related intellectual property rights and a mechanism on dispute settlement.

The WTO is a Members driven Organization, all the decisions being taken by its Members, as a general rule by consensus (by Ministers on the occasion of Ministerial Conferences, or by officials of Member states - meeting regularly in Geneva).

The WTO disciplines that have to be applied by WTO Members are the result of negotiations between them and are compulsory. The non-observance of obligations may lead to sanctions, which are not imposed by the Organization, but the affected member, under the WTO rules.
 

The Ministerial Conference in Doha (9-13 November 2001)

The November 2001 Declaration of the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, provides the mandate for negotiations on a range of subjects and other work, including issues concerning the implementation of the present agreements.
The negotiations include those on agriculture and services, which began in early 2000. A number of other issues have now been added. The declaration sets 1 January 2005 as the date for completing all but two of the negotiations. Negotiations on the Dispute Settlement Understanding are to end in May 2003; those on a multilateral register of geographical indications for wines and spirits, by the next Ministerial Conference in 2003. Progress is to be reviewed at the Fifth Ministerial Conference in 2003 (now to be held in Mexico) - the exact date has not been set yet.
The negotiations take place in the Trade Negotiations Committee and its subsidiaries. Other work under the work programme takes place in other WTO councils and committees.
Ministers also approved a linked decision on implementation - problems developing countries face in implementing the current WTO agreements.

Romania at WTO

Romania acceded to the GATT in 1971, being a signatory to almost all major Tokyo Round Agreements.

Romania has also actively participated in all areas of negotiations in the Uruguay Round, expecting a more transparent, predictable and stable multilateral trading system to facilitate improved market access for Romanian products.

At the end of 1994, the Parliament of Romania ratified by Law 133/1994 the Marrakech Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Romania becoming thus, as from 1st January 1995, a founding WTO Member, together with other 83 countries.

The fundamental changes in the politic, social and economic regime of Romania after 1989, allowed an active participation of our country in the final stage of multilateral trade negotiations of the Uruguay Round (1990-1993). Romania accepted the entirety of legal instruments negotiated during the Round and has taken a large number of commitments, correlated with its development needs and objectives, on trade liberalization on goods and services.

Romania permanently acted in a constant manner, as a GATT Contracting Party and a WTO Member (see WTO chairpersons for 2002), in the following directions:

  • the implementation of general and specific commitments resulting from the accepted legal instruments, by adopting internal regulations related to the economic and foreign trade regime, in full conformity with the multilateral regulations;
  • the fulfilment of transparency obligations, by notifying the applied economic and trade measures;
  • the active participation to the multilateral negotiations in various fields;
  • the active involvement together with the other Members, in WTO monitoring activities regarding the implementation of WTO Agreement and the multilateral agreements annexed to it, the trade policy review of Members, the clarification and, as the case may be, development of new multilateral disciplines.


Romania has actively participated to the preparation and the works of the four Ministerial Conferences of the WTO that have taken place till now: 

  • at the Ministerial Conference in Singapore (9-13 December 1996), Romania was one of the main supporters of the inclusion on the work agenda of the WTO of new domains as: trade and competition, trade and investments, transparency in government procurements, trade facilitation, being all known as "the Singapore issues";
  • at the Ministerial Conference in Geneva (18-20 May 1998), Romania was one of the active supporters of the initiative of maintaining free trade in the field of electronic transactions;
  • at the Ministerial Conference in Seattle (30 November - 3 December 1999), as well as during its preparatory process, Romania actively promoted, together with other open-minded WTO Members, a transparent, realist and balanced agenda;
  • at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha (9-13 November 2001), as well as during the preparatory process of the conference, Romania was actively involved in the preparation of all issues under discussion, being one of the main supporters of the launching of a new round of comprehensive multilateral trade negotiations. During all this period Romania has coordinated the CEFTA informal group of countries within the WTO.


The national authority responsible with the elaboration and implementation of the trade policy regime in Romania is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Department for Foreign Trade and Economic Promotion within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs elaborates the Foreign Trade Policy of Romania, in conformity with the Governance programme, the Development programme of Romania on medium-term and with the Romania's multilateral and European commitments.
 
 

Other Useful Links:

The Governance Program : http://domino.kappa.ro/guvern/ehome.nsf
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania: http://www.mae.ro
Romanian Foreign Trade Center: http://www.traderom.ro
Trade Point Romania: http://www.tpb.traderom.ro
Bussiness opportunities: http://www.profitromania.com
Romanian Chamber of Commerce: http://www.ccir.ro