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What is the World Trade Organization?

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) came into existence on 1 January 1995. Created as a result of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, which took place between 1986 and 1994, it oversees the multilateral trading system embodied in the WTO Agreements. As of August 2001, it had 142 member countries (accounting for over 90% of world trade) and 31 observers in the process of negotiating membership. About 100 of the member countries are from the developing world. In its preamble, the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization lists the WTO’s objectives as follows:

Related Subject(s): International Trade and Finance
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