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World Trade Organization (WTO)


Geneva, Switzerland



Description: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.

The WTO describes itself as an organization for trade opening. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements and a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other. In essence, it exists to support free trade, overcoming obstacles to this.

Organization Type:

International Inter-Governmental Organization

Issue areas covered: The WTO rules currently make no reference to animal welfare; however, in 2014 an appellate body and panel of the WTO ruled in partial favor of the seal product ban of the EU, saying that the ban had a legitimate objective, which was a public moral concern on seal welfare. This ruling in effect indicates that animal welfare is covered by the WTO’s public morals clause.
Key opportunities and dates for input: 

The Public Forum is the WTO’s largest annual outreach event, which provides a platform for participants to discuss the latest developments in world trade and to propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system. The event includes representatives from civil society.

Requirements for participation: 

There is information on NGOs and the WTO.

Advocacy Opportunities:
  • This is a complex subject, so advocacy needs to be well informed and considered. For more information, please contact WAN and we will put you in contact with APO experts.

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