n Law, Democracy & Development - Free trade or just trade? The World Trade Organisation, human rights and development (part 1)




The World Trade Organisation (WTO) came into being in 1995. It lies at the centre of the global trading system and is one of the most influential international organisations. Its key purpose is to improve "the standards of living" of the people of its Member States by establishing legally binding rules which help trade to flow as freely as possible. The WTO seeks to achieve trade liberalisation through a variety of actions, including the removal of trade barriers and ensuring that all the main participants in the global trading system are aware of the applicable rules. The organisation also serves as a forum for trade negotiations amongst its Members concerning their multilateral trade relations in matters dealt with under the various agreements annexed to the WTO Agreement, and for settling trade disputes.


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