Australia and the WTO
As a founding member of both the 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. In December 2013, a package was agreed at the 9th Ministerial Conference (MC9) in Bali, including trade facilitation, agriculture and development issues. Whilst WTO Members failed to meet the prescribed deadline to adopt the Trade Facilitation Protocol by July 31 2014, the benefits from implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement are too important to be lost. Australia is continuing to work with the WTO and its Members to realise these benefits. Australia is taking a leading role in discussions with other WTO Members on the post-Bali agenda, where we will seek market access for Australian exports across various negotiating sectors, including agriculture, industrial goods and services.
Australia is one of 14 WTO members negotiating an agreement to remove tariffs on a range of environmental goods.