Introduction
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Data Source: Department of International Organizations        
 
1. Establishment
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that promotes trade liberalization, fair competition, and predictability. The WTO’s establishment in 1995 as a result of the Uruguay Round of negotiationswas the biggest reform ofthe world trading system since the advent of the 1948 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

2. The Marrakesh Agreement
In April 1994, the trade ministers of founding members met in Marrakesh, Morocco,to sign the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, leading to the establishment of the WTO on January 1, 1995. The WTO helps regulate such areas as trade in goods (under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), trade in services (under the General Agreement on Trade in Services), and intellectual property rights (under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). The Dispute Settlement Body and the Trade Policy Review Mechanismhelp strengthen the WTO. Various plurilateral and multilateral agreements, including the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft, the Government Procurement Agreement, the Information Technology Agreement and the expansion thereof, and the Trade Facilitation Agreement also form part of the WTO system.

3. Organizational structure and members
The Ministerial Conference is the highest level decision-making body of the WTO, conveninga plenary meeting biennially. When the Ministerial Conference is not in session, the General Council is responsible for carrying out the functions of the WTO. Located in Geneva, Switzerland, the WTO Secretariat is currently headed by Director-General Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil, who was inaugurated on September1, 2013.

As of May 2017, the WTO has 164 members. The Republic of China (Taiwan) acceded to the WTO in January 2002 under the name Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.Through our permanent mission to the WTO, we have actively participated in the Doha Development Agenda round of negotiations launched in November 2001, which focuses on such issues as agriculture, development, dispute settlement, environmental protection, intellectual property rights, market access, rules, services, and trade facilitation.

4. WTO progress
(1) The10th WTO Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya,December 15-18, 2015. It realized several achievements, including the following:
A. The adoption of the Nairobi Package, a series of ministerial decisions on agriculture, cotton, and issues related to least-developed countries,
B. The conclusion of the Information Technology Agreement Expansion negotiations—thelargest tariff reductionpackagesince the beginning of the Uruguay Round, and
C. The accession of Afghanistan and Liberia to the WTO.
(2) The Trade Facilitation Agreemententered into force on February 22, 2017, making it the first multilateral instrument concluded since the WTO’s establishment 22 years ago.