World Bank and World Trade Organization

World Bank and World Trade Organization

            The World Bank and World Trade Organization are two key players in the global economic arena, with one focused on development and the other on trade.

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            World Bank, whose headquarters is located in Washington, centers on helping developing countries by providing them technical and financial assistance - World Bank and World Trade Organization introduction. It also aims to alleviate poverty by addressing important social issues such as water and sanitation, health and nutrition, education, and gender equality through working and sustainable models. Ultimately, World Bank endeavors to help developing countries achieve their localized Millennium Development Goals to spur economic growth, improve socio-political conditions, and uplift the quality of life of the people. The institution is currently involved in more than 1,800 projects in various sectors and themes in several developing countries. Through partnerships with other stakeholders such as non-government organizations, academic institutions, private companies, and other donors and funding agencies, World Bank is able to successfully deliver these projects.

            Meanwhile, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization looks into trade regulations and ensures that trades between and among countries are undertaken within the proper principles of trading. In essence, World Trade Organization serves as a watchdog for all trade-related concerns. More specifically, it advocates free, open and transparent trades that are non-discriminatory and promote fair market competition to drive development and the much-needed economic reforms. It also provides the platform to settle disputes and conflicting interests between and among countries.

Members of both organizations consist of a number of countries from all parts of the world. World Bank has 186 member countries, while World Trade Organization maintains membership of 153 countries. However, these countries take on different roles between these two organizations. In World Bank, the member countries are the shareholders, and they take on a less active role because they are represented by a Board of Governors who is the key policy framer and decision maker. On the other hand, members of World Trade Organization are the ones who run the institution. Decisions are usually made by consensus among the members, thus giving them more authority and active role than what they have in World Bank.

Given the global nature of their operations, both World Bank and World Trade Organization have quite a significant workforce. World Bank’s secretariat, though, is bigger at 3,000, while more than 600 employees serve as the secretariat for World Trade Organization.

Though the two institutions are directed at two different overall goals, they both hope to contribute to economic development and growth. Recognizing this, they signed a cooperation agreement in 1997 and again in 2003 to ensure that their efforts are complementing each other. Salient points of said agreement are as follows: (1) World Bank and World Trade Organization will consult with each other and exchange views on issues of common interest; (2) the two institutions will establish open communications and sharing of information from their database, research works and publications; and (3) key officials from both organizations will be allowed to attend and observe each other meetings, especially when the bodies are about to come up with an important decision.

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