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World Trade Organization (WTO)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization designed to supervise and liberalize international trade. The WTO came into being on 1 January 1995, and is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was created in 1947, and continued to operate for almost five decades as a de facto international organization.

The World Trade Organization deals with the rules of trade between nations at a near-global level; it is responsible for negotiating and implementing new trade agreements, and is in charge of policing member countries' adherence to all the WTO agreements, signed by the majority of the world's trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round. The organization is currently working with its members on a new trade negotiation called the Doha Development Agenda (Doha round), launched in 2001.

The WTO has 153 members, which represents more than 95% of total world trade. The WTO is governed by a Ministerial Conference, which meets every two years; a General Council, which implements the conference's policy decisions and is responsible for day-to-day administration; and a director-general, who is appointed by the Ministerial Conference. The WTO's headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.

World Fair Trade Organization

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), formerly the International Fair Trade Association, was created in 1989 and is a global association of nearly 300 organizations in over 60 countries. Members are Fair Trade producer cooperatives and associations, export marketing companies, importers, retailers, national and regional Fair Trade networks and Fair Trade Support Organizations.

WFTO's mission is to improve the livelihoods and well being of disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organizations, and speaking out for greater justice in world trade.

WFTO's core fields of activities are:

Developing the market for Fair Trade.
Building trust in Fair Trade.
Speaking out for Fair Trade.
Providing networking opportunities
Empowering the regions.

In 2004 WFTO launched the FTO Mark which identifies registered fair trade organizations worldwide (as opposed to products in the case of FLO International and Fairtrade) and guarantees that standards are being implemented regarding working conditions, wages, child labour and the environment. These standards are verified by self-assessment, mutual reviews and external verification. The FTO Mark is available to all WFTO members who meet the requirements of the WFTO Standards and Monitoring System and so far over 150 organizations have registered.
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