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World Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) came into force on 1 January 1948 as an international agreement on free world trade. The aim of GATT was to promote worldwide economic development and prosperity by overcoming obstacles to trade and arbitrating in trade conflicts. In 1995, GATT was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, the World Trade Organization is one of the central organisations involved in regulating the world economic order. It is the only international organisation that is responsible for drawing up regulations for international trade. While GATT rules focused in particular on trade in goods, WTO contracts also cover trade in services and the protection of intellectual property rights. The overarching goal of the WTO is to eliminate all barriers that stand in the way of world trade. This includes eliminating discrimination between imported and local goods and between imports from different countries. The WTO currently has 153 members.

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World Trade Organization (WTO)

Centre William Rappard
Rue de Lausanne 154
1211 Geneva 21

Switzerland
Phone: +41 / 22 / 7 39 51 11
Fax: +41 / 22 / 7 31 42 06

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