Implementation and monitoring
A large and essential part of members’ work in the WTO is to monitor how the agreements that they have negotiated are being implemented. Transparency is key. They discuss their laws, measures adopted and other issues in the various councils and committees, including information that they have pledged to share with each other by notifying the WTO. All WTO members must also undergo periodic peer review of their trade policies and practices, each Trade Policy Review containing reports by the WTO Secretariat and the country concerned and comments by other members in the meeting. More recently the WTO Secretariat has produced regular global trade monitoring reports on how countries are using trade mesures overall in response to the changing economic climate.
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WTO councils and committees consist of all WTO members, except in a handful of cases. They monitor the implementation of WTO agreements and provide a forum for WTO members to discuss trade issues.
- General Council
- Goods Council
- Market access for goods
- Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
- Subsidies and countervailing measure
- Customs valuation
- Rules of origin
- Import licensing
- State trading enterprises (working party)
- Information technology agreement
- Technical barriers to trade
- Services Council
- Intellectual property
- Trade and environment
- Trade and development
- Trade, debt and finance
- Trade and transfer of technology
- Government procurement
- Civil aircraft
- Information technology
- Regional trade agreements
Ministerial Conferences review the WTO's ongoing work and give political guidance and direction to that work. It is the highest decision-making body of the organization and usually meets every two years. The General Council carries out the functions of the WTO between Ministerial Conferences.
Transparency and trade monitoring
WTO members monitor how WTO agreements are being implemented by conducting peer reviews of countries’ trade policies — known as Trade Policy Reviews — and through periodic reports on trade mesures around the world.