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World Trade Organization (WTO)

What is the WTO?

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

• Administering WTO trade agreements
• Forum for trade negotiations
• Handling trade disputes
• Monitoring national trade policies
• Technical assistance and training for developing countries
• Cooperation with other international organizations 

The WTO in Brief
A starting point for essential information about the WTO.
> Browse html version online
> Download in pdf format (8 pages, 658 KB)

Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Established: 1 January 1995
Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)  
Membership: 146 countries (as of 4 April 2003)
Budget: 154 million Swiss francs for 2003
Secretariat staff: 550
Head: Supachai Panitchpakdi (director-general)