Define: WTO

Quick Summary of WTO

The World Trade Organization, or WTO, is an organisation that facilitates international trade between countries. Its role is to ensure fairness and adherence to the same rules, similar to a referee in a game.

Full Definition Of WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organisation that facilitates trade between nations by establishing and enforcing rules. It ensures that trade flows smoothly and freely by requiring countries to adhere to its regulations. The WTO also plays a role in resolving trade disputes and offers technical assistance and training to developing countries to enhance their trade capabilities. These examples demonstrate how the WTO promotes fair and open trade by setting rules, resolving conflicts, and supporting the growth of developing economies. Ultimately, the WTO contributes to a more stable and predictable global trading system.


The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organisation that deals with the global rules of trade between nations. It helps ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible.

The main purpose of the WTO is to promote and facilitate international trade by creating a fair and level playing field for all member countries. It aims to reduce trade barriers, resolve trade disputes, and provide a platform for negotiations on trade-related issues.

Currently, there are 164 member countries in the WTO, representing over 98% of global trade.

Being a member of the WTO provides countries with access to a transparent and predictable trading system, which helps promote economic growth, create jobs, and increase living standards. It also allows countries to participate in trade negotiations and resolve disputes through a structured and rules-based process.

The WTO has a dispute settlement mechanism that allows member countries to bring their trade disputes to a neutral and independent panel of experts. The panel examines the case and issues a ruling, which is binding on the parties involved. This helps ensure that trade disputes are resolved in a fair and impartial manner.

Yes, the WTO has the authority to enforce its rulings. If a member country fails to comply with a ruling, the affected country can seek permission from the WTO to impose trade sanctions on the non-compliant country until it brings its trade practices in line with the ruling.

The WTO primarily focuses on trade in goods, services, and intellectual property rights. However, it does not cover all aspects of international trade, such as investment, competition policy, or labor standards. These areas are typically governed by separate agreements or organisations.

While NGOs do not have direct membership in the WTO, they can participate in WTO activities as observers. They can attend meetings, submit written contributions, and engage in discussions on various trade-related issues.

Yes, the WTO can change its rules and regulations through negotiations among its member countries. These negotiations usually take place during ministerial conferences, where member countries discuss and agree upon new rules or amendments to existing ones.

To become a member of the WTO, a country must negotiate and agree upon its terms of accession with the existing WTO members. This process involves submitting an application, undergoing a series of bilateral negotiations, and implementing necessary domestic reforms to align with WTO rules and regulations. Once the negotiations are successfully concluded, the country can join the WTO as a full member.

Related Phrases
World Trade Organization

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This glossary post was last updated: 17th April 2024.

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