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Information about the organization

THE WTO: SECRETARIAT AND BUDGET
Divisions

The WTO Secretariat is organized into divisions. These are normally headed by a director who reports to a Deputy Director-General or directly to the Director-General. The Appellate Body has its own Secretariat.

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WTO Secretariat

Accessions Division

The work of the division is to facilitate the negotiations between WTO members and states and entities requesting accession to the WTO by encouraging their integration into the multilateral trading system through the effective liberalization of their trade regimes in goods and services; and to act as a focal point in widening the scope and geographical coverage of the WTO. There are at present nearly 30 accession working parties in operation.
  

Administration and General Services Division

The Administration and General Services Division is responsible for providing administrative and general services geared to meet the needs of the Secretariat and WTO members. Its responsibilities encompass budgetary, financial, travel, procurement, facility and pension management. In addition, the division ensures the safety and security of the staff and buildings occupied by the Secretariat. The division also services the needs of WTO members by supporting the work of the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration.


Agriculture and Commodities Division

The division handles all matters related to the ongoing negotiations on agriculture. Furthermore, the division provides support in the implementation of the existing WTO rules and commitments on agriculture, including by ensuring that the process for multilaterally reviewing these commitments by the Committee on Agriculture is organized and conducted in an efficient manner. The work of the division encompasses to facilitate implementation of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, including by servicing the SPS Committee. Other activities of the division include support for the implementation of the Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries; dealing with matters related to trade in fisheries and forestry products as well as natural resource-based products; providing services for dispute settlement in the area of agriculture and SPS; providing technical assistance in all areas under its purview; and cooperation with other international organizations and the private sector.

  
Council and Trade Negotiations Committee Division

The Council and Trade Negotiations Committee Division provides support to the Ministerial Conference, the General Council, the Trade Negotiations Committee and the Dispute Settlement Body. It is responsible for ensuring the efficient management of all formal, informal and other consultative meetings of these bodies and coordinating follow-up activities. It provides advice and support to the Director-General and chairs of these bodies (and other members of senior management) in connection with their responsibilities in these areas, and prepares and circulates the WTO publication Basic Instruments and Selected Documents. The division also coordinates work of the WTO Conference Office in the scheduling of formal, informal and consultative meetings of WTO bodies, symposia, workshops and seminars organized under the auspices of WTO bodies and operational divisions of the WTO Secretariat.

  
Development Division

The Development Division is the focal point for all policy issues related to trade and development. The division monitors and provides input to senior management and the WTO Secretariat as a whole on issues relating to trade and development, including the participation of developing countries — especially least-developed countries (LDCs) — in the multilateral trading system.

The division services the Committee on Trade and Development in regular session as well as its dedicated session on small and vulnerable economies, and its special sessions on special and differential treatment. The division services the Sub-Committee on LDCs. It also serves the Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology. In addition, it facilitates the meetings of the African Group, the LDC Group and the Informal Group of Developing Countries.

The division is also responsible for coordinating the Aid for Trade initiative, which aims to help developing countries, particularly LDCs, build trade-related skills and the infrastructure needed to expand their trading opportunities. The aim of the initiative is to create closer cooperation in national capitals between trade, finance and development officials and to engage international and regional inter-governmental organizations and donors active in building trade capacity to address national and regional Aid for Trade needs.

The Development Division also serves as the focal point for the WTO's participation in the enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), including in its governing bodies, the EIF Board and the EIF Steering Committee. The WTO is one of the core EIF agencies and works with other international agencies, donors and other development partners to respond to the trade development needs of LDCs.
  

  
Economic Research and Statistics Division

The Economic Research and Statistics Division provides economic analysis and research in support of the WTO’s operational activities, including monitoring and reporting on current economic news and developments. It carries out economic research on broader policy-related topics in connection with the WTO’s work programme, as well as on other WTO-related topics of interest to delegations arising from the on-going integration of the world economy, the spread of market-oriented reforms, and the increased importance of economic issues in relations between countries. The division prepares the “World Trade Report”, an annual publication that aims to deepen understanding about trends in trade, trade policy issues and the multilateral trading system. The division cooperates with other international organizations and the academic community through conferences, seminars and courses; prepares special research projects on policy-related topics in the area of international trade; and prepares briefings to senior management. It is responsible for the “coherence” mandate with other international organizations, including in relation to linkages between trade and finance, and for the Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance

On the statistics side, the division supports WTO members and the Secretariat with quantitative information in relation to economic and trade policy issues. The division is the principal supplier of WTO trade statistics through the annual “International Trade Statistics” and via the Internet and Intranet. The division is responsible for the maintenance and development of the Integrated Data Base (IDB) and the Consolidated Tariff Schedules (CTS) which supports the Market Access Committee’s information requirements in relation to tariffs. The division’s statisticians also provide members with technical assistance in relation to the IDB-CTS databases. The division plays an active role in strengthening cooperation and collaboration between international organizations in the field of merchandise and services trade statistics, ensuring that WTO requirements with respect to the concepts and standards underpinning the international statistical system are met.


Human Resources Division

The Human Resources Division is responsible for the human resources management of over 700 WTO staff members (regular and temporary). The division's responsibilities include division restructuring, performance management, development and training (in areas such as management development and interpersonal skills) , workforce planning, recruitment and selection, career management (including internal career mobility), management of staff benefits and entitlements, and staff counselling . The central aim of the division is to respond to the evolving needs of the WTO, aligning the workforce with the needs of the organization.

  
Information Technology Solutions Division

The Information Technology Solutions Division ensures the efficient operation of the WTO's information technology (IT) infrastructure as well as the development and support of the necessary systems to cover the needs of WTO members and the WTO Secretariat. In response to changing needs and fast-evolving technology, the division performs the necessary research and work needed to constantly enhance IT services and procedures, to comply with the core mandate of the organization and to better facilitate the dissemination of information to WTO members and the public through the Internet and specialized databases. The division also ensures the efficient operation of the IT and communication infrastructure for special events such as Ministerial Conferences.

The division supports a complex desktop and network environment and provides a multitude of services (ERP, Office Automation, E-mail, Intranet, Internet, Web and Client/Server System Development, Telecommuting, IT Training, IT Asset Management, Video Conferencing, etc.). This includes implementation and regular revision of the IT security policy. The division also provides IT expertise regarding the creation and upgrading of WTO Reference Centres in the capitals of developing and least-developed countries and participates in technical cooperation missions.
   

Information and External Relations Division

The Information and External Relations Division communicates information about the World Trade Organization to a variety of audiences. This is made available through the WTO web site, an extensive publications programme and regular briefings aimed at specific audiences, such as journalists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), parliamentarians and students.

The division organizes an annual Public Forum, which is the major opportunity for governments, NGOs, academics, businesses and students to come together to discuss issues regarding the multilateral trading system. The division works closely with counterparts in other international governmental organizations and regional bodies, such as the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is also responsible for official relations with WTO members, including protocol matters, in close liaison with the Office of the Director-General.

  
Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation

Trade-related technical assistance is the WTO's contribution to the functioning of the Aid for Trade Initiative, which aims to help developing, least-developed countries and other low-income transition economies to mainstream trade into their national economic development plans and strategies. The Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) designs, coordinates and implements trade-related technical assistance activities. With support across the WTO Secretariat, the ITTC delivers specific technical assistance products as mandated by WTO members in the regularly updated Technical Assistance and Training Plans. These plans focus on strengthening the ability of beneficiaries to understand their rights and obligations within the multilateral trading system, to take full advantage of the rules-based system, to participate effectively in trade negotiations, and to develop, on a long-term basis, their capacity to adjust to WTO rules and disciplines.

  
Intellectual Property Division

The Intellectual Property Division is responsible for the WTO's work in trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS), government procurement and competition policy (it should be noted that substantive work in the latter area in the WTO has been on hold since 2004). In the TRIPS area, the Division provides service to the TRIPS Council and to dispute settlement panels, services any negotiations that may be launched on intellectual property matters and provides assistance to WTO members through technical cooperation, including in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other relevant international organizations, and through the provision of information/advice more generally. It also maintains and develops lines of communication with other intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, intellectual property practitioners and the academic community. In the area of government procurement, the Division services the Committee established under the plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement and dispute settlement panels that may arise, in addition to providing technical cooperation and information/advice more generally to WTO members. In the area of competition policy, the Division monitors developments at the international level and would be responsible for any further work in the WTO Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy, in the event that that body should resume its work.
  

Languages, Documentation and Information Management Division

The Languages, Documentation and Information Management Division (LDIMD) provides two types of complementary services:

  • services such as translation, printing, dissemination of documentation, and interpretation for meetings

  • information management services, which include the WTO library, correspondence, the registration of notifications, archiving and preservation of materials, and document research.

Many of these services, such as the Central Registry of Notifications and the “Documents Online” database of official WTO documents, are provided to WTO members, observers and the public through the Internet. LDIMD ensures that WTO documents, publications and other materials are available in the WTO's three working languages — English, French and Spanish — both in hard copy and in electronic form.

The WTO library supports WTO activities and research through its print and electronic collection of documents, including an online catalogue and bibliographic reference services. The library is the depository of GATT/WTO official documents and publications dating back to the Havana Charter, and has a comprehensive collection of national statistics from WTO members and observers.
 

  
Legal Affairs Division

The principal mission of the Legal Affairs Division is to provide legal advice and information to WTO dispute settlement panels, other WTO bodies, WTO members and the WTO Secretariat. The division’s responsibilities include assisting members in the composition of dispute settlement panels, providing timely secretarial and technical support and legal assistance to WTO dispute settlement panels, providing legal advice to the Dispute Settlement Body and its Chairman on the operation of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, and providing legal advice to the Director-General, the Secretariat and members on all WTO agreements and on other legal issues as they may arise. Other responsibilities include advising the Director-General on administrative law issues related to the operation of the WTO and the Secretariat, providing legal information to WTO members and preparing legal publications relating to the WTO dispute settlement system, and providing legal support in respect of accessions. The division also provides training regarding dispute settlement procedures and WTO legal issues through special courses on dispute settlement, regular WTO training courses and WTO technical cooperation missions. On behalf of the Secretariat, representatives from the division attend meetings of other international organizations concerning international legal issues and attend international conferences on dispute settlement and other legal matters of relevance to the WTO.
  

Market Access Division

The Market Access Division works with the following WTO bodies: the Council for Trade in Goods, the Committee on Market Access, the Committee on Customs Valuation, the Committee on Rules of Origin, the Committee on Import Licensing and the Committee of Participants on the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA). The work of the division includes organizing meetings for these bodies.
  

Office of Internal Audit

The Office of Internal Audit (OIA) was created in March 2008 to undertake the independent examination and evaluation of the WTO’s financial and budgetary control systems and processes. The OIA makes recommendations for strengthening accountability, financial risk management, internal controls and governance processes, with the aim of ensuring that the financial resources made available to the WTO by its members are used efficiently and effectively to obtain the best value for money.
  

Rules Division

The role of the division is to ensure the smooth functioning of all WTO bodies serviced by the division. This includes facilitating new and on-going negotiations and consultations, monitoring and actively assisting in the implementation of WTO agreements in the areas of anti-dumping, subsidies and countervailing measures, safeguards, trade-related investment measures, state-trading and civil aircraft. It also includes providing all necessary implementation assistance, counselling and expert advice to WTO members concerning the above agreements, providing secretaries and legal officers to WTO dispute settlement panels involving these agreements and participating in the WTO technical assistance programme.

The bodies serviced by the Rules Division include the Negotiating Group on Rules, the Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices, the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the Committee on Safeguards, the Committee on Trade-Related Investment Measures, the Committee on Trade in Civil Aircraft, the Working Party on State-Trading Enterprises, the Permanent Group of Experts of the Subsidies Agreement as well as the Informal Group on Anti-Circumvention and the Working Group on Implementation, both concerning the Agreement on Anti-Dumping.

  
Technical Cooperation Audit Division

The Technical Cooperation Audit (TCA) Division is responsible for ensuring ongoing monitoring and evaluation of all forms of technical assistance provided by the WTO. The division conducts on-site and ex-post evaluations and prepares an Annual Report for discussion at the Committee on Trade and Development.

    
Trade and Environment Division

The division provides service and support to WTO committees dealing with trade and environment and technical barriers to trade. For Trade and Environment, it supports the work of the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) by providing technical assistance to WTO members; reporting to senior management and WTO members on discussions in other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), including negotiation and implementation of trade-related measures in multilateral environmental agreements. The division maintains contacts and dialogue with NGOs and the private sector on issues of mutual interest in the area of trade and environment.

Its work in the area of technical barriers to trade includes providing service to the Working Group on Technical Barriers to trade (WGTBT), if the TBT Committee so decides; providing technical assistance to WTO members; providing Secretariat support to dispute panels and accessions examining aspects of the TBT Agreement. The division follows and reports on matters related to the TBT Agreement, and maintains contacts with the private sector on issues of mutual interest in this area.

  
Trade in Services Division

The Trade in Services Division provides support and technical advice to WTO members on the implementation of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and on further negotiations mandated by the Agreement. It performs this role by supporting the Council for Trade in Services (both in regular and special session) as well as other bodies established under the GATS. These include the Committee on Financial Services, the Committee on Specific Commitments, the Working Party on Domestic Regulation, and the Working Party on GATS Rules. Within the WTO Secretariat, the division provides information and advice to the Director-General and senior management on trade in services as well as support to relevant dispute settlement panels.

Other work includes providing technical cooperation to WTO members, undertaking research on trade in services, cooperating with other international organizations on services-related projects, participating in public outreach activities and providing public information on the GATS through various forms of media. The division also assists other bodies in the WTO on matters relating to services, such as the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (in its work relating to Article V of the GATS and the RTA transparency mechanism), the Trade Policy Review Body and various accession working parties.

  
Trade Policies Review Division

The Trade Policies Review Division has several areas of responsibility. One is to support the work of the Director-General and WTO members under the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (Annex 3 of the WTO Agreement ), which includes preparing periodic reports on members' trade policies, servicing meetings of the Trade Policy Review Body at which reviews of members' policies are carried out, and preparing an Annual Overview of trade policy developments on behalf of the Director-General. The division is responsible for providing Secretariat support to the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements and the Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions, and for servicing the Doha Round Negotiating Group on Rules related to regional trade agreements. It is also responsible for servicing the Doha Round Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation and for managing and delivering the technical assistance programme that supports the participation of developing and least-developed countries in that negotiation.

  

Appellate Body Secretariat

The Appellate Body Secretariat provides legal and administrative support to the Appellate Body. The Secretariat is located within the headquarters of the WTO. The director of the Secretariat heads a team of ten lawyers and four support staff. Appellate Body Secretariat staff members are bound by the Rules of Conduct of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, which seek to ensure independence, impartiality, the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and the confidentiality of the proceedings. Secretariat staff also participate in technical cooperation activities carried out by the WTO Secretariat, especially those related to dispute settlement.

 

Distribution of staff positions within the WTO's various divisions back to top