January 1, 1995
Centre William Rappard, Geneva, Switzerland
153 member states
English, French, Spanish
189 million Swiss francs (approx. 182 millionUSD) in 2009.
The world Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing with theglobal rules of trade between nations.The WTO has 153 members, representing more than 95% of total world trade and 30observers, most seeking membership. The WTO is governed by a ministerial conference,meeting every two years; a general council, which implements the conference's policy decisionsand is responsible for day-to-day administration; and a director-general, who is appointed bythe ministerial conference. The WTO's headquarters is at the Centre William Rappard, Geneva,Switzerland.
What is the World Trade Organization?
Simply put: the World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the rules of trade betweennations at a global or near-global level. But there is more to it than that.There are a number of ways of looking at the WTO. It’s an organization for liberalizingtrade. It’s a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It’s a place for them tosettle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. (But it’s not Superman, just in caseanyone thought it could solve — or cause — all the world’s problems!)Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments go, to try to sort out the tradeproblems they face with each other. The first step is to talk. The WTO was born out of negotiations, and everything the WTO does is the result of negotiations. The bulk of the WTO’scurrent work comes from the 1986–94 negotiations called the Uruguay Round and earliernegotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO is currentlythe host to new negotiations, under the “Doha Development Agenda” launched in 2001.