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World Trade Organization

World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international body that determines international trade rules. At the heart of the WTO is a series of multilateral agreements that set legal rules for international trade in goods, services and intellectual property. Australia has been a Member of the WTO since its founding in 1995.

What does the World Trade Organization do?

The World Trade Organization (WTO):

  • provides a forum for Members to negotiate trade rules and agreements
  • provides dispute resolution
  • monitors and reviews domestic trade policies of Members
  • helps developing country Members comply with WTO rules (and realise the benefits of membership).

Australia and the WTO

Australia's economy relies on a strong and open global trading environment. The Australian Government is strongly committed to the WTO and its framework of rules, which helps promote and protect the open global trading system.

Our membership in the WTO means that we benefit from its trade rules and we have a process to settle disputes if other trade partners breach these rules.

The WTO operates by consensus. Every Member's opinion carries the same weight, and all Members must agree before a decision can be made. This means that progress can be slow, but once an agreement is reached, all members are obliged to honour it.

Australia is also committed to reforming the WTO to ensure it can function more effectively, and continues to meet the needs of Members and business in today’s modern global trading environment.

WTO agreements

The WTO operates by consensus; all Members must agree before decisions are made.

WTO agreements include:

Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property

More about the WTO


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