Define: World Trade Organisation

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: World Trade Organisation

Quick Summary of World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation is an international body that supervises and encourages international trade.

What is the dictionary definition of World Trade Organisation?

Dictionary Definition

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an international trade organisation formed under the General Agreement on Tariffs And Trade (GATT)  as a replacement for GATT intended to implement measures agreed to at the Uruguay Round in 1994.

The World Trade Organisation’s aims are to continue GATT’s work in agreeing upon international trading rules and furthering the liberalisation of international trade.

WTO rules are very important in respect to international trade contracts and the WTO’s jurisdiction also extends into such aspects of trading as intellectual property rights.

The highest authority within the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which is held approximately every 2 years.

The WTO began operating on the 1st January 1995 and as of 2016 had 164 member states.


Full Definition of World Trade Organisation

An international body to supervise and encourage international trade.

An international trade organisation was first proposed following the Bretton Woods conference (1944), but was never set up; the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was started instead.

GATT organised the Uruguay Round trade talks, and concluded activities in 1994 with the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO); the latter being intended to take over the GATT’s functions in encouraging multilateral trade in goods and services.

The WTO is the largest international economic organisation in the world.


Synonyms For World Trade Organisation

world trade organization, wto-related, organization, international trade organization, accession

World Trade Organisation FAQ's

What does World Trade Organisation do?

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.

What are the main objectives of the WTO?

The WTO has six key objectives:

  1. to set and enforce rules for international trade,
  2. to provide a forum for negotiating and monitoring further trade liberalisation,
  3. to resolve trade disputes,
  4. to increase the transparency of decision-making processes,
  5. to cooperate with other major international economic institutions involved in global economic management, and
  6. to help developing countries benefit fully from the global trading system.
When was the World Trade Organisation established?

The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.

Cite Term

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Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
World Trade Organisation. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. January 21, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
World Trade Organisation. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: January 21, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
World Trade Organisation. Retrieved January 21, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for World Trade Organisation are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 29th January 2019.