The Philippines is a member of the multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO), an organization for liberalizing trade, negotiating trade agreements, and settling trade disputes.
WTO was established in 1995 and is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in the wake of the Second World War.
The system was developed through a series of trade negotiations, or rounds, held under GATT. The first rounds dealt mainly with tariff reductions but later negotiations included other areas such as anti-dumping and non-tariff measures. The last round – the 1986-94 Uruguay Round – led to the WTO’s creation. Whereas GATT had mainly dealt with trade in goods, the WTO and its agreements now cover trade in services, and in intellectual property.
The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) was launched at the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. The agenda adds negotiations and other work on non-agricultural tariffs, trade and environment, WTO rules such as anti-dumping and subsidies, investment, competition policy, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, intellectual property, and a range of issues raised by developing countries as difficulties they face in implementing the present WTO agreements.
The Philippines supports the conclusion of the DDA, where its priority interests are: to open market access for agricultural products, to reduce developed-country subsidies to their agricultural sectors, and to secure more effective and practical special safeguards mechanism.