Australia has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since it started in 1995. We were also a founding member of its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international body dealing with the rules of trade between nations. It is responsible for:
- Providing a forum for member countries to negotiate trade rules
- Providing a mechanism for handling trade disputes
- Monitoring and reviewing domestic trade policies of individual members
- Helping developing country members comply with WTO rules (and realise the benefits of membership)
At the heart of the WTO is a series of multilateral Agreements. These agreements set legal rules for international trade in goods and services and intellectual property. They have been negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and approved by their parliaments. In addition, each agreement has a committee or working group charged with implementing its provisions and providing a forum for discussion and consultation on issues as they arise.
The full list of agreements can be found on the WTO website.
For more information about the WTO including decision making processes, WTO membership and the role of the WTO Secretariat see the WTO website.