EU and WTO
World Trade Organization
- Established in 1995
- 162 member countries
- Forum for trade negotiations
- Sets the global rules governing trade between its members
The WTO is a member-driven organisation composed of governments and customs territories (such as the EU). It sets the framework for trade between its members with decisions taken on a consensus basis. Its core activities are:
- Forum for multilateral trade negotiations (see Doha Development Round)
- Resolving trade disputes between States (see Dispute Settlement)
- Setting the legal ground-rules for trade in the form of Agreements
- Monitoring Members' trade policy through the Trade policy Review Mechanism
Becoming a WTO member requires compliance with the WTO rules in force and negotiations with the existing members on the acceding country’s commitments. These negotiations are concluded when there is a decision taken by the WTO Ministerial Conference.
Why the WTO matters
The EU is committed to multilateralism and has acknowledged the fundamental importance of WTO in the international trade system.
Being the world's major global player in the international trade, the EU supports the work of the WTO on multilateral rule-making, trade liberalisation and sustainable development.
EU trade policy and the WTO
The EU's active involvement in multilateral trade means more products on sale at competitive prices, more growth and more jobs …
By actively promoting a fairer and a more stable international trade system, the EU strives to:
- Ensure new markets for European companies
- Observe the rules and make sure others also play by the rules
- Create tangible benefits in the everyday life of EU citizens
Through the WTO, the EU also seeks to promote sustainable development in trade, such as:
- The Everything But Arms initiative – where all imports from the world's poorest countries enter the EU free of import duties or quotas, with the exception of armaments
- The special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as GSP+
- Aid for Trade
The EU has also been an active player in the Doha Development Agenda since its launch in November 2001.