The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international organization dealing with rules of trade between nations. Although the WTO became officially operational only in January 1995, it is the successor to the GATT multilateral trading system founded in 1947. In becoming Members of the WTO, countries undertake to abide by its rules. As of 30 November 2000, the WTO counted 140 Members.
The WTO is charged with setting the legal ground rules for international trade. Its objectives are to promote: (1) non-discrimination (2) progressive liberalisation of barriers to trade (3) predictable policies and transparency (4) competition and (5) special provisions for developing countries.