General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) came into being in 1947 after the second world war. Its goal was to promote trade between nations as a way of avoiding potential future conflicts. It provided a way of negotiating multi-lateral trade frameworks. This was in existence until late 80s when the need for an umbrella organization to handle the increasing complexity of world trade was felt. The result was WTO (World Trade Organization) which came into being in 1995.
Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible. The initial planners wanted to implement a new world trade system by promoting world trade that benefits most countries. One of its goals is to share the benefits of global trade more evenly. It also aims to reduce the social disadvantages of free trade through different clauses and agreements.
WTO aims to facilitate the implementation , administration and operation of free trade agreements between nations. As always there have been numerous supporters and detractors of WTO. Some experts believe that WTO is great for global business. They say that WTO avoids conflicts through enhanced trade relations. Other experts believe that processes followed by WTO are not democratic and it only reinforces the advantages of the developed nations.