What is the World Trade Organization?

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global intergovernmental organization, much like the United Nations (UN), and the only one of its type to deal with the rules of trade between nations. It is located in Geneva, Switzerland and was established in January 1, 1995.

Historically, the multilateral trading system was originally set up under GATT (1947). However, due to the limitations of the GATT agreement, the GATT eventually evolved through the Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-1994) into a full-fledged organization: the WTO.

The primary purpose of the WTO is open trade for the benefit of all. In order to achieve this, the WTO provides a forum for negotiating agreements aimed at reducing obstacles to international trade. The WTO also provides a legal and institutional framework for the implementation and monitoring of these agreements, as well as for settling disputes arising from their interpretation and application. The current body of trade agreements comprising the WTO consists of 16 different multilateral agreements (to which all WTO members are parties) and two different plurilateral agreements (to which only some WTO members are parties).

Israel is Member of the WTO since April 21, 1995 and is also Member of both plurilateral agreements; Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and the Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA).

Although the WTO is a forum for states and autonomous customs territories, private citizens or business organizations can participate in the WTO through public sessions such as the WTO Public Forum. Finally, in case you want to participate in the WTO through the representation of our Mission, you can contact the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor or the Mission directly.