The WTO is an intergovernmental agency created to regulate matters bordering on international trade between nations. Its main function is the regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between member countries. This is facilitated by the provision of frameworks on negotiation of trade agreements and dispute resolutions. The WTO currently has 164 members, of which 117 are developing countries or separate customs territories.
Specifically, the WTO’s main activities involve:
— negotiation on the reduction or elimination of obstacles to trade and agreement on rules governing the conduct of international trade.
— administration and monitoring of the application of the WTO’s agreed rules for trade in goods, services, and intellectual property rights.
— monitoring and review of the trade policies of members.
— settlement of disputes among members
— capacity building for developing country government officials in international trade matters
— assistance in the process of registration of some 30 countries who are not yet members of the organization
— conduct of economic research and collection and dissemination of trade data in support of the WTO’s other main activities
— educating the public about the WTO, its mission and its activities.