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World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The World Trade Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation. As of May 2012, 153 countries belonged to it - i.e. some three quarters of the countries of the world. The preamble of the document that established the organisation states that the countries that belong to it recognise that they should work towards raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, and expanding the production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the optimal use of the world's resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect and preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with their respective needs and concerns at different levels of economic development.

The WTO is an autonomous organisation, meaning that it is not part of the United Nations. Neither does it have any formal relationship or legal agreement with it.

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