Overview of the WTO Secretariat

The WTO Secretariat, based in Geneva, has approximately 620 staff. It is headed by a Director-General, who is supported by four Deputy Directors-General. Since the WTO is run by its member governments, the Secretariat has no decision-making powers.

The Secretariat's main duties are to supply technical and professional support to the WTO's councils and committees, to provide technical assistance for developing countries, to monitor developments in world trade, to conduct economic research, to disseminate information on WTO activities to a variety of audiences and to organize ministerial conferences. It also provides legal assistance in the WTO's dispute settlement process and advises governments wishing to join the WTO.

The Secretariat staff includes individuals representing about 80 nationalities who provide impartial support to WTO member governments. It mostly consists of economists, lawyers and specialists in international trade policy, communications, information technology, finance, human resources and language services. The working languages of the WTO are English, French and Spanish.

Chart: Structure of the Secretariat

WTO staff on regular budget by gender and nationality, as of 31 December 2022

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Allocation of staff by division, as of 31 December 2022 (number of posts)*


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WTO staff on regular budget by grade and gender, as of 31 December 2022




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