25 years of WTO membership for Slovenia


Slovenia joined the WTO seven months after the organisation was established on 1 January 1995 with the Marrakesh Agreement at the end of the eight-year-long Uruguay Round of trade talks.

The WTO was one of the first international organisations Slovenia joined after gaining independence in 1991. "With this our country clearly showed that it accepts the rules of international trade," Ivanc told the STA before the anniversary.

Considering that Slovenia's economy is export-oriented there was no other alternative, Ivanc added.

A survey by German foundation Bertelsmann has shown that the WTO membership has increased countries' gross GDP by 4.5% on average, which amounts to EUR 730 billion in total.

Slovenia's benefits from the membership were above-average, as the membership contributed 5% to the country's GDP, said Ivanc.

"It has also been proven that becoming a WTO member increases a country's credit rating, which in turn brings down the price of borrowing. WTO membership also encourages foreign direct investments (FDI)."

The WTO has faced criticism in the past years, including from US President Donald Trump, who has accused it of unfair treatment of members, called for reforms and even threatened that the US would leave.

The US have also blocked the appointment of new members of the WTO's appeals body, which has weakened the disputes resolution system as a whole, which in turn is a jeopardy to the essence of the WTO.

Since the US's blockage there have been warnings that the WTO has become a toothless tiger and that the basic concept of the international trade system is at stake.

Ivanc meanwhile said that the effectiveness of the WTO had been declining since 2001 when the membership surpassed 160 countries, each with their own interests, all different and legitimate.

"The establishment of global value chains and modern technologies had not been addressed through changes of the legal order of international trade. Therefore, countries sought bilateral agreements or regional blocs, such as NAFTA, the EU and the European Free Trade Association," said Ivanc.