World Trade Organization

intergovernmental organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a large international organization to regulate trade that was established in 1995. As of 2018, there are 164 members and 23 observer nations. In the WTO, agreements are made on trade between countries. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) means that countries have to lower barriers to international trade, such as tariff on goods crossing borders. This lets businesses operate in many different countries.

  Members, dually represented by the EU

Member countries sign agreements


There are about 30 such agreements. Based on these agreements, the member countries trade with each other. They sell items to each other and follow a set of rules. They have to give a special job to the other country. The phrase used (for such and many alike items) is to give the other country a special job – this is known as to give the other country a most favored country job. From 2004, if a member sells any item to another member country, the same type of item should be offered to all other member countries.

While it is highly regarded, from its beginning the WTO has also received criticism.