What is the WTO?
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It was founded on 1 January 1995 with headquarters in Geneva. It provides the legal ground rules for international trade which are binding under international law. Current membership totals 159 countries. The WTO's aggregate budget for 2013 amounts to CHF 197,203,900. As of 1 September 2013 the organisation is headed by Director General Roberto Azevêdo.
It administers multilateral trade agreements including: 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); special agreements, such as the Agreement on Agriculture, Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Dispute Settlement Understanding, Trade Policy Review Mechanism. The Agreement on Government Procurement is a plurilateral agreement, meaning that it is binding only for member states that have ratified it. The same applies to the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) concluded in 1996.