About the WTO

Published December 1, 2003

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and was established on January 1, 1995. It is charged with administering rules for trade, negotiated by consensus and set out in the form of a contract, among its 148 member countries. Nations that join the WTO have an obligation to abide by its rules and the right to seek action against other members who fail to do so. Although the U.S. is a member, WTO rules are subordinate to and cannot supersede laws established by the U.S. Constitution.

The WTO’s primary function, according to its Web site, “is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible.”

– J.S.

For more information …

visit the World Trade Organization’s Web site at http://www.wto.org.