Australia and the WTO
As a founding member of both the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, Australia has a longstanding commitment to the multilateral trading system operated by the WTO. This system provides the framework governing world trade. Members agree on legally binding rules that provide important certainty for their exporters. Members can use the WTO's dispute settlement system to uphold these rules.
Australia also works actively to maintain these rules through participation in WTO committees. The committees provide the opportunity to discuss trade issues amongst WTO members. They also enhance transparency by requiring WTO members to notify them of measures they intend introducing that could affect trade.
Australia is committed to opening markets through multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO. Through such negotiations Australia seeks market access for Australian exports across various negotiating sectors, including agriculture, industrial goods and services.
Australia is working towards the early conclusion of an ambitious WTO trade facilitation agreement. Trade facilitation negotiations are directed at expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.
Studies by the OECD, World Bank and European Union have shown there would be significant gains to world trade from a trade facilitation agreement. It has been estimated that the successful conclusion of a Trade Facilitation agreement could add up to USD 67 billion to global GDP.