Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Established: 1 January 1995  
Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)    
Membership: 157 countries on 24 August 2012  
Budget: 196 million Swiss francs for 2011  
Secretariat staff: 640  
Head: Pascal Lamy (Director-General)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.The Administration of the WTO is conducted by the Secretariat which is headed by the Director General (DG) appointed by the MC for the tenure of four years. He is assisted by the four Deputy Directors from different member countries. 

• Administering WTO trade agreements
• Forum for trade negotiations
• Handling trade disputes
• Monitoring national trade policies
• Technical assistance and training for developing countries
• Cooperation with other international organizations 

The Ministerial Conference (MC) is at the top of the structured organization of the WTO. It is the supreme governing body which takes ultimate decisions on all matters. It is constituted by representative (usually, Ministers of Trade) all the member countries.

The day-to-day work of the WTO, however, falls to a number of subsidiary bodies; principally the General Council, also composed of all WTO members, which is required to report to the Ministerial Conference. It is the real engine of WTO which acts on behalf of the MC.As well as conducting its regular work on behalf of the Ministerial Conference, the General Council convenes in two particular forms - as the Dispute Settlement Body, to oversee the dispute settlement procedures and as the Trade Policy Review Body to conduct regular reviews of the trade policies of individual WTO members. 

There are three councils viz : the Council for Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) operating under the GC. These councils with their subsidiary bodies carry out their specific responsibilities.
The General Council delegates responsibility to three other major bodies - namely the Councils for Trade in Goods, Trade in Services and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property. The Council for Goods oversees the implementation and functioning of all the agreements (Annex 1A of the WTO Agreement) covering trade in goods, though many such agreements have their own specific overseeing bodies. 

Three other bodies are established by the Ministerial Conference and report to the General Council. The Committee on Trade and Development is concerned with issues relating to the developing countries and, especially, to the "least-developed" among them. The Committee on Balance of Payments is responsible for consultations between WTO members and countries which take trade-restrictive measures, under Articles XII and XVIII of GATT, in order to cope with balance-of-payments difficulties. Finally, issues relating to WTO's financing and budget are dealt with by a Committee on Budget.