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Due to their constitutional role, parliamentarians play an important part in the multilateral trading system and the WTO. Any deal resulting from intergovernmental negotiations at the WTO will, in most cases, need approval from legislators.

Parliamentary Conference on the WTO
Steering Committee
Reaching out to parliamentarians






Background  back to top

The first gathering of legislators from WTO members took place in December 1999 on the margins of the 3rd WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle. This gathering agreed on the need for parliamentarians to be more closely associated with the work of the WTO and called for the establishment of a Standing Body of Parliamentarians whereby Members of Parliaments (MPs) could exchange views, be informed and monitor WTO negotiations and activities.


Formal meetings  back to top

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Parliament (EP) regularly hold Parliamentary Conferences on the WTO, which usually include a briefing from the Director-General.

The Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference meets twice a year in Geneva. The Committee consists of around 30 parliamentarians. The Director-General regularly briefs the Committee on the status of the Doha Round of negotiations.


Outreach  back to top

Through its Information and External Relations Division, the WTO maintains regular dialogue with parliamentarians and organizes workshops, in partnership with parliamentary organizations, to encourage dialogue. These workshops are often organized at a regional level.


Links  back to top

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December 2014

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