Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements


The Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM)

The Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) was introduced into GATT in 1989 following the Mid-Term Review of the Uruguay Round. The mechanism was confirmed as an integral part of the WTO in Annex 3 of the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization. Before 1995, trade policy reviews were restricted to trade in goods. In conformity with WTO rules, since 1 January 1995 reviews have also covered new areas like trade in services and intellectual property rights.

The purpose of the TPRM is to "contribute to improved adherence by all Members to rules, disciplines and commitments made under the Multilateral Trade Agreements and, where applicable, the Plurilateral Trade Agreements, and hence to the smoother functioning of the multilateral trading system, by achieving greater transparency in, and understanding of, the trade policies and practices of Members".

The frequency of reviews of a Member is related to its weight in the multilateral trading system, as defined by the Member's share of world trade in goods and services. On this basis, Members are reviewed under one of three different cycles: every two years for the four largest trading entities, counting the European Union as one; every four years for the next sixteen countries; and every six years for other Members, with provision for a longer interval for least-developed countries.