Trade Policy Review Mechanism
The Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) is a forum for Members to openly discuss and provide objective analysis of each Member’s trade policies and practices. The objective of the TPRM is to contribute to improved adherence by all Members to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, disciplines and commitments. It is not intended as a mechanism for enforcing WTO obligations, dispute settlement procedures or imposing new trade policy commitments, but as a means to make the trade rules and practices of Members more transparent.
The frequency of reviews depends on the Member's share of global trade:
- the four largest traders (the European Union, the United States, China and Japan) are reviewed every three years
- the next 16 largest traders (including Australia) are reviewed every five years
- the remaining Members are reviewed every seven years (with a longer interval for least-developed countries).
The review process
Reviews take into account the Member's economic and developmental needs, policies and objectives, and external trading environment. The review process includes:
- a report on the Member's trade policies and practices by the WTO Secretariat
- a report by the Member government
- a written question and answer process (the Member responds to questions from other Members about trade policies and practices)
- a formal meeting in Geneva of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB).
Australia’s engagement in Trade Policy Reviews
Australia last underwent a Trade Policy Review on 11 and 13 March 2020. Australia’s opening statement noted Australia’s commitment to the multilateral trading system and its WTO obligations. The WTO Secretariat published its independent report on Australia’s trade policies and practices on its website. Australia’s next Trade Policy Review will be held in 2025.
Australia engages actively in other Members’ Trade Policy Reviews by posing questions on Members’ trade policies and delivering Ambassador-level statements during formal review meetings.
- China – 20 and 22 October 2021
- Republic of Korea – 13 and 15 October 2021
- Singapore – 22 and 24 September 2021
- Argentina – 15 and 17 September 2021
- Viet Nam – 27 and 29 April 2021
- Tonga – 14 and 16 April 2021
- Myanmar – 15 and 17 February 2021
- India – 6 and 8 January 2021
WTO Trade Monitoring Reports
The WTO produces two series of trade monitoring reports:
- WTO-wide reports on trade-related developments covering WTO membership and observers
- joint reports with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on trade and investment measures taken by G20 economies.
Australia contributes regularly to the reports to enhance trade policy transparency.
WTO World Trade Outlook Indicator
The WTO launched a new World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) in 2016 to provide 'real time' information on global trade trends. It complements existing information tools like the trade monitoring reports and longer term trade forecasts.