The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the
only international organization dealing with
the global rules of trade between nations.
Brunei Darussalam became an original member
of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since
it came into force in 1 January 1995.
Its main function is to ensure that trade
flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as
possible. The result is assurance. Consumers
and producers know that they can enjoy
secure supplies and greater choice of the
finished products, components, raw materials
and services that they use. Producers and
exporters know that foreign markets will
remain open to them.
Decisions in the WTO are typically taken by
consensus among all member countries and
they are ratified by members’ parliaments.
Trade friction is channeled into the WTO’s
dispute settlement process where the focus
is on interpreting agreements and
commitments, and how to ensure that
countries’ trade policies conform to them.
That way, the risk of disputes spilling over
into political or military conflict is
At the heart of the system – known as the
multilateral trading system – are the WTO’s
agreements, negotiated and signed and
ratified by a large majority of the world’s
trading nations. These agreements are the
legal ground-rules for international
commerce. Essentially, they are contracts
guaranteeing member countries important
trade rights. They also bind governments to
keep their trade policies within agreed
limits to everybody’s benefit.
The agreements were negotiated and signed by
governments. But their purpose is to help
producers of goods and services, exporters,
and importers conduct their business.
The Participants in WTO
As of 11 January 2007, Vietnam became the
latest the member to join the WTO. There are
currently 150 members.
Brunei in WTO
The business community in Brunei Darussalam
is strongly encouraged to:
- Inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Trade of any issues in export markets, so
that such issues can be discussed and
resolved, bilaterally or within the WTO.
- Follow the discussions in the WTO and make
known their views and concerns, so as to
ensure that the policy approaches adopted by
the Government in the negotiations, are
responsive to business needs and fully
reflect the realities of business.
At the Fourth Ministerial Conference in
Doha, Qatar, in November 2001 WTO member
governments agreed to launch new
negotiations. They also agreed to work on
other issues, in particular the
implementation of the present agreements.
The entire package is called the Doha
Development Agenda (DDA) which is still
The negotiations include those on
agriculture and services, which began in
early 2000, as well as market access for
non-agricultural products, trade-related
aspects of intellectual property rights,
trade facilitation and rules on
anti-dumping, subsidies and regional trade