Cooperation with other international organizations

One of the functions of the WTO is to cooperate with other international governmental and non-governmental organizations. It maintains extensive working relations with almost 200 international organizations in activities ranging from research, standard-setting, technical assistance and training. 140 of them have observer status in WTO bodies and the WTO also participates as observer in the work of several organizations.


Among others, WTO closely cooperates with other Bretton-Woods institutions as International Monetary Fund and World Bank responsible for monetary and financial matters. It comes from the need for greater coherence in global economic policy-making. The interconnectivity between financial, monetary and trade aspects of the global economy calls for mutually supportive cooperation of these three organizations to achieve better results for all. The agreements signed among them identify mechanisms for mutual cooperation and regular consultation. A recent example of this cooperation can be the Joint report “Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All” prepared by the three organizations in 2017.  


Another direction is the cooperation with specialized intergovernmental organizations on international standards. This is especially vital in the areas of sanitary-phytosanitary measures (“SPS”) and technical barriers to trade (“TBT”). As it can also be seen from the image, WTO cooperates with the Secretariat for International Plant Protection Convention, Codex Alimentarius Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and World Organization for Animal Health in the SPS area. WTO encourages all Members to use standards adopted by such organizations and actively participate in the work of these standard-setting bodies. 


In the intellectual property area, WTO has effective cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”). 


The WTO also maintains close relationships with United Nations ("UN") organizations such as the UN Conference for Trade and Development (“UNCTAD”) for trade related development and technical assistance matters and UN Economic and Social Council ("ECOSOC") for dialogue on development.  


The WTO has intensified cooperation with private sector initiatives. For example, the WTO started cooperating with worldwide known and successful Alibaba Group’s initiative - Electronic World Trade Platform (“eWTP”). In the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference, the WTO together with eWTP and World Economic Forum launched a public-private dialogue on the electronic commerce with a view to enable e-commerce for micro, small and medium sized enterprises. This public-private cooperation is expected to create more opportunities for small businesses and make trade more inclusive.