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WTO

World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded in 1995, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and constituing a stronger multilateral organization to oversee the rules of international trade and the settlement of international trade disputes between Governments, and to organize trade negotiations. The status of the World Trade Organization is slightly complex, since it has no formal agreement with the UN but has close cooperative arrangements and practices with the United Nations and UN agencies.

WTO decision-making bodies

WTO is governed by its Member States. The Ministerial Conference is the supreme body of the WTO. It is represented by all Paragraph Member States and meets at least once every two years. The Conference has the authority to carry out the functions of the WTO and take the actions necessary under the multilateral trade agreements.

The General Council, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Trade Policy Review Body carry out the day-to-day work between the Ministerial Conferences. Under the General Council there are additional councils, committees and subsidiary bodies

WTO Budget

All member states contribute to the WTO budget in proportion to their share of international trade. Although, in principle, all members of the WTO have equal rights, decison-making is still dominated by rich countries with financial and admininstrative resources.

The WTO headquarters are located in Geneva.

More on WTO

  • WTO. Background information on the WTO structure and programmes, news, full text trade agreements legal texts, documents and reports, statistics and access to databases:​
  • WTO documents and resources. Publications, statistical material, and relevant databases:​
    • WTO Documents online. WTO official documents and agreements from 1995 onwards in the WTO official languages - English, French and Spanish - and a selection of material from the period 1986-1994.
    • WTO legal texts. WTO agreements are the founding charter of the organization and the basis for everything the WTO does.
    • GATT Documents. Official documents issued under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
    • WTO Statistics. International trade and market access data.

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library. UN official documents and open access publications, UN maps, UN voting data and speeches.
  • UN iLibrary. UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS. UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus is a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions

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