Defending French interests at the World Trade Organization

Regulation and opening of the global economy at the WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was created after the Marrakesh Agreement of 15 April 1994 entered into force on 1 January 1995.

It aims to promote a multilateral trading system that is non-discriminatory, open, transparent and fair as well as to pursue the liberalization of trade and the opening of markets by providing a framework for trade negotiations, administrating WTO agreements and settling trade disputes in the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).

How the WTO works

Countries make decisions in some 65 councils, committees and working groups made up of representatives of all members.

The topmost body is the Ministerial Conference that, under WTO statutes, meets at least every two years. The Ministerial Conference is authorized to take decisions on all questions regarding multilateral trade agreements.

The General Council acts on behalf of the Ministerial Conference with regard to all WTO-related matters. It meets as the Dispute Settlement Body responsible for administrating disputes between WTO members and as the Trade Policy Review Body for supervising the implementation of procedures to settle disputes between members or to analyse their trade policies.

All sixty subsidiary bodies are under the direct authority of the General Council, or one of the four pillars: the Council for Trade in Goods, the Council for Trade in Services, the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and lastly the Trade Negotiations Committee.

Positions of France and the European Union in the WTO

France supports the WTO-based multilateral system, which is key to enforcing common rules and fair competition between trade partners. By actively participating in the dispute settlement process and in the surveillance of protectionist practices, France and the European Union protect businesses from unfair practices in order to preserve the conditions for fair competition in international trade.

France underlines the importance of these negotiations for French and European interests and supports the European Union’s commitment to helping to strengthen the multilateral trade system.

Video: 3 Questions to Pascal Lamy, former WTO Director-General