Information about the organization

What is the WTO?

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

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The WTO in Brief
A starting point for essential information about the WTO.


About the WTO — ‘Understanding the WTO’
An introduction, in more depth, to the WTO and its agreements.


10 things the WTO can do
The world is complex. The World Trade Organization is complex. This booklet is brief, but it tries to reflect the complex and dynamic nature of trade and the WTO’s trade rules.



Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Established: 1 January 1995
Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)  
Membership: countries on
Budget: 197 million Swiss francs for 2013
Secretariat staff: 640
Head: Roberto Azevêdo (Director-General)

• Administering WTO trade agreements
• Forum for trade negotiations
• Handling trade disputes
• Monitoring national trade policies
• Technical assistance and training for developing countries
• Cooperation with other international organizations