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Definition - WTO

clipped from

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) governs international trade, setting and enforcing rules and punishing offenders. It was established in 1995 under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Since September 2005 it has been led by Pascal Lamy, a former EU trade commissioner.

The WTO is detested by anti-globalists who wrongly claim it is hostile to democracy and damaging to the environment. Others claim the WTO actually fails to encourage trade.

The current global round of trade talks, launched at Doha in 2001, could produce substantial benefits, especially to poor countries. But disagreement about liberalising farm trade led talks held in CancĂșn in September 2003 to collapse, putting the round in jeopardy. In July 2004 rich countries pledged to cut agricultural subsidies, but Doha was hobbled again by failed meetings in Geneva in 2006 and Potsdam in 2007.