The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global body dealing with the rules of trade between nations. Its primary purpose is the regulation of the conduct of trade among member nations in order to ensure adherence to the principles of fair dealing. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. These agreements cover all areas of trade relating to goods and services, including intellectual property, custom tariffs, trade barriers and open markets, the principles of liberalization, their exceptions, and dispute settlement procedures. These agreements are however not static as they are renegotiated from time to time and new agreements added as deemed necessary by member nations. This paper thus examines the structure of the WTO vis-à-vis its origins and development, principles, hierarchies, and existing agreements with a view to determining their future implications on world trade.
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