The World Trade Organization deals with the rules of trade between nations at a near-global level. It is responsible for negotiating and implementing new trade agreements, and is in charge of policing member countries' adherence to all the WTO agreements, signed by the majority of the world's trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round. The organization is currently working with its members on a new trade negotiation called the Doha Development Agenda (Doha round), launched in 2001.
The WTO has 153 members, which represents more than 95% of total world trade. The WTO is governed by a Ministerial Conference, which meets every two years; a General Council, which implements the conference's policy decisions and is responsible for day-to-day administration; and a director-general, who is appointed by the Ministerial Conference. The WTO's headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.
The basic structure of the WTO includes the following bodies (see organizational diagram):
The Ministerial Conference- which is composed of international trade ministers from all member countries. This is the governing body of the WTO, responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and making all final decisions on agreements under its wings. The Ministerial Conference meets at least once every two years.
The General Council- Composed of senior representatives of all members. It is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business and management of the WTO, and... [continues]
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