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The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and promotes international trade between countries. The organization was established in 1995, as a successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which was created in 1948. The WTO's main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible. It provides a forum for trade negotiations, resolves disputes, and monitors the trade policies of member countries.
Australia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and it follows the rules and regulations of the organization, as well as its agreements such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
The Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is an agreement to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers among the members of the WTO. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an agreement to establish minimum standards for intellectual property regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members. The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) is an agreement to ensure that technical regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.
Australia is also bound by the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) of the WTO, which provides the framework for the settlement of disputes between member countries. Australia has been involved in a number of disputes as a complainant and respondent, and has also served as a member of panel and the Appellate Body.