They are based on general principles: the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (for goods) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). (The third area, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), also falls into this category, although it does not currently contain any additional parts.) Although the details of the WTO`s trade rules are developed through negotiations, the organization is based on several basic principles. The most fundamental is the commitment to openness, i.e. the reduction of tariffs and the limitation of quotas, subsidies and other barriers to trade. Another key issue is non-discrimination, where WTO members must treat trade on an equal footing with all other members. The WTO also strives to ensure transparency and predictability of trade-related rules and promotes international standards to ensure the stability of citizens, businesses and investors. In addition, the organization is committed in principle to giving less developed countries more flexibility and arrangements to help them adapt to the new rules. There are currently 153 Member States in the WTO, and a number of other countries have applied to become members. At the heart of the organisation are the agreements negotiated by the Member States. One of the main functions of the WTO is to serve as a negotiating forum where Member States can discuss trade issues. In various negotiations, Member States have established and continue to establish a set of rules for international trade, with particular emphasis on the removal of trade barriers. These agreements cover a wide range of activities and topics, including agriculture, textiles and clothing, banking, telecommunications, industry standards and product safety, intellectual property and much more. The WTO also serves as an enforcement mechanism that allows member states to resolve disputes by filing complaints if they believe that other countries are not complying with the rules set out in these agreements.
The final phase of accession includes bilateral negotiations between the candidate country and other members of the Working Group on Concessions and Commitments on the level of tariffs and market access for goods and services. The new Member`s obligations are to apply equally to all WTO Members under normal non-discrimination rules, even if negotiated bilaterally.  For example, following its accession to the WTO, Armenia offered a flat-rate customs duty of 15% for access to its product market. Apart from the fact that collective bargaining is ad valorem, there are no specific or composite tariffs. In addition, there are no tariff quotas for industrial and agricultural products.  Armenia`s growth in economic and trade performance has been noted since its first review in 2010, particularly its recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis with an average annual GDP growth rate of 4%, despite some fluctuations. The Armenian economy has been characterized by low inflation, poverty reduction and substantial progress in strengthening its macroeconomic stability, with trade in goods and services, equivalent to 87% of GDP, playing an increasing role.  The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Round, at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.
This should be an ambitious attempt to make globalization more inclusive and to help the world`s poor, in particular by removing barriers and subsidies in agriculture.  The original programme included both further trade liberalisation and the development of new rules, underpinned by a commitment to increase substantial aid to developing countries.  Certain exceptions are allowed. For example, countries may enter into a free trade agreement that applies only to goods traded within the group and discriminate against goods from outside. Or they can grant developing countries special access to their markets. Or a country may erect barriers against products considered unfairly traded from certain countries. And when it comes to services, countries are allowed to discriminate in certain circumstances. But the agreements only allow these exceptions under strict conditions. In general, most-favoured-nation treatment means that whenever a country breaks down a trade barrier or opens a market, it must do so for the same goods or services of all its trading partners, whether rich or poor, weak or strong. Intellectual property. The WTO Agreement on Intellectual Property, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), has been criticized by experts who have argued that WTO rules on pharmaceutical patents have limited access to medicines in the poorest countries.
The WTO affirms that the application of patent protection is essential to the expansion of world trade. Import competition. Some economists argue that by promoting imports and encouraging companies to relocate their operations abroad, the WTO`s tariff cuts are hurting U.S. jobs and wages. Robert E. Scott and Will Kimball of the Economic Policy Institute estimated in 2014 that China`s accession to the WTO in 2001 had led to the loss of more than three million jobs in the United States as U.S. companies were forced to compete with China`s much cheaper imports. Other estimates see [PDF] a smaller but still significant loss of about two million jobs, although some experts say technological change, not China, was responsible for those losses. Trade advocates, including Douglas Irwin, an economist at Dartmouth College, say increased trade with China has benefited the U.S. economy by lowering prices, increasing productivity and increasing exports.
Some analysts say that most of the consumer benefits that accompanied China`s membership went to poor and middle-class Americans. This was the largest negotiating mandate ever agreed for trade: the talks aimed to extend the trading system to several new areas, in particular trade in services and intellectual property, and to reform trade in sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all original GATT articles could be examined.  The Final Act concluding the Uruguay Round and formally establishing the WTO regime was signed on April 15, 1994 at the Ministerial Meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, and is therefore known as the Marrakesh Agreement.  Upon accession, all Members agree on a dispute settlement mechanism under which wto-appointed trade experts can render binding judgments. When one Member files a complaint against another, countries must first attempt to resolve the matter through consultations, and only in the event of failure will a panel be chosen by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body to hear the case. .