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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The current period in the world economy is regarded as period of globalization and trade liberalization. In this period, one of the crucial issues in development and international trade is to know whether liberalization of trade indeed promotes growth. In this contemporary world as a ―global village‖, regional integration constitutes an effective means of not only improving the level of participation of Nigeria in the sub-region in world trade, but also her integration into the borderless and interlinked global economy. (Briggs,2007). Since 1960, the Nigerian economy has experienced a massive liberalization of world trade, initially under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and trade (GATT), established in 1947, and currently under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which replaced the GATT in 1993. Tariff levels in both Nigeria and member states have reduced drastically, averaging approximately 4% and 20% respectively (Oxley, 1999) The world trade organization is a global, multilateral intergovernmental organization that promotes, monitors and adjudicate trade..The general agreement on tariffs and trade was more of a negotiating framework than an administrative institution (Kenen, 2000). It did not actually regulate trade.
Before the GATT, proposals for a stronger institutional agency had been rejected because of United States fear that over regulation would stifle free trade. Although GATT was a regime with international institutional infrastructure until the mid-1990s, in addition to its main rule as negotiating forum, the GATT helped to arbitrate trade disputes. In 1995 the GATT became the WTO, the GATT agreement on manufactured goods where subsumed into the world trade organization framework and then extended to include trade in services and intellectual
property(.Massel, 1972) The WTO wields some power overstate, but as with most international institution, this power is limited. It is the central international governing trade and therefore one that almost all countries want to participate in and develop. As a negotiating forum for multilateral trade, these multilateral negotiations are long and difficult. Among the five rounds of GATT negotiations from 1947-1995, the Kennedy round in the 1960‘s so called because it started during the Kennedy administration and paid special attention to the growing role of the EEC, which the united states found somewhat threatening. The Tokyo round, in the 1970‘s had to adjust rules to new conditions of world interdependence as, for instance, OPEC raised oil prices and Japan began to dominate the automobile export. The Uruguay round in 1986 in Uruguay made developing countries such as Nigeria to continue to participate in the WTO because the benefits in terms of global wealth creation outweigh the cost, in terms of harm to domestic industries or painful adjustments in national economies. States try to change the rule in their favor during the rounds of negotiation and between rounds they try to evade the rules in minor ways. But the overall benefits are too great to jeopardize b y non participation or by allowing frequent trade wars to occur. Although the WTO provides an overall framework for multilateral trade in a worldwide market, most international trade is governed by more specific international political agreement, they are bilateral and free trade areas(oxley,1999). The world trade organization as a regional organization performs two major function which are
-Bilateral agreements: bilateral treaties covering trade are reciprocal arrangements to lower barriers to trade between two states. Usually they are fairly specific (Oxley, 1999). For instance, Nigeria as a country may reduce its prohibition on imports on products while a country like Japan lowers tariff on product which Nigeria exports. Part of the idea behind the WTO was to strip away the maze of bi-lateral agreements on trade and simplify the system of tariffs and
preferences. Bilateral trade agreements have the advantages of reducing the collective goods problem inherent in multilateral negotiations and facilitating reciprocity.
Free Trade Areas: Regional free trade areas are also important in the structure of the WTO. In such areas, groups of neighboring states agree to remove the entire structure of trade barriers and adopt a common tariff toward states that are of members of agreement. This type of arrangement is known as custom union. If members of a custom union decide to coordinate other policies such as monetary exchange, the custom becomes a common market. The creation of a regional trade agreements of any type allows a group of states to cooperate in increasing their wealth without waiting for the rest of the world (Oxley,1999). Infact from an economic nationalist perspective, a free trade area can enhance a region power at the expense of other areas of the world. The most important free trade area is in Europe it is connected with the European union but with a somewhat larger membership.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Promotion of economic growth, trade liberalization(open door) , removal of tariffs, is one of the objectives of the world trade organization but in recent times, this has not been the case because the Nigerian economy still experience some element of economic instability such as high level of unemployment, price instability and adverse balances of payment to mention a few. Furthermore, the world trade organization has not accrued into the economic growth totally because some of the world trade organization problem arises from the need for reciprocity in trade liberalization (Osita,1987:115). For this reason, it is worthy to analyze the influence of the world trade organization on economic growth in Nigeria, and the overall benefit for participation.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this is to examine the relationship between the WTO and Nigeria‘s economic growth. To fulfill the broad objective of this study, the following specific objectives are to be met;
Ø To examine Nigeria membership of WTO since 1995,and the opportunities present.
Ø To investigate
Ø To analyze the challenges Nigeria membership of WTO poses to Nigeria‘s economic growth &development.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study shall be guided by the following research questions,
Ø Has Trade Liberalizations in Poor Countries Delivered the Promises Expected
Ø Has Nigeria benefitted from the world trade organization
Ø What are the criticisms of the world trade organization?
1.5. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The role of a regional organization in the developmental journey of an economy cannot be over emphasized, especially with the current trend of globalization. Nigeria. Being part of the global village is not left out of this world development. This research work is carried out to study the relationship between Nigeria and the WTO, how the organization has influenced the performance of the Nigeria economy in the presence of other internal and external shocks. The findings of this research work transcend beyond mere academic brainstorming, but will be of immense benefit to federal agencies, policy makers, intellectual researcher and international trade think tanks that occasionally prescribe and suggest policy options to the government on
trade related issues. It will also help the government to see the effectiveness of trade liberalization policy on the economic growth of the nation over the years. This research work will further serve as a guide and provide insight for future research on this topic and related field for students who are willing to improve it. It will also educate the public on various government policies as related to trade issues.
1.6. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work span is through the period of 1999-2014 (15 years), and is within the geographical zone of Nigeria. Thus, it is a country-specific research. This research exercise, like every other research work, is really a rigorous one that consumes much time and energy especially in the process of gathering information through reliable sources. This work is relatively limited base on time and financial constraints, methodology adopted which could further be verified by future research. Nevertheless, (the researcher) have properly organized the research so as to present dependable recommendations which can aid effective policy making and implementation at least for the time being.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work is divided into chapters. The focus of this chapter is to get an inkling of the background of our research work. The research work is organized into five chapters, this comprises of the background, statement of problem, objective of study, limi
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