What are the origins of the World Trade Organization and what reforms are planned? Our series “Looking back, looking ahead” seeks to answer these questions on the occasion of the Informal Meeting of EU Trade Ministers on 20-21 September in Berlin.
The WTO is an international organisation that has focused on the regulation of global trade and economic relations since its foundation. It was established as a successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), but with a broader objective. Since 1995, it has been based in Geneva and has functioned as an independent organisation working closely with the United Nations. It currently has 164 member states, including the largest economic areas in the world: the European Union, China, the United States and Japan. The youngest member is Afghanistan, which joined in 2016.