WTO Flags; Quelle: Fotolia.com/Marcel Schauer

© Fotolia.com/Marcel Schauer

Federal Minister Peter Altmaier said: "Since it was founded 25 years ago, the WTO has been a major success story. Its rules ensure legal certainty, transparency and a level playing field in global trade. The WTO stands for rules-based trade for all and rejects the law of might. The current trade conflicts have reminded us of the importance of having common rules. But the WTO must now be made fit for the 21st century. Trade disputes must be resolved within the WTO, not outside of it. To do this, we need modern rules, for example on industrial subsidies, forced technology transfers or in the field of digitalisation. At the same time, it is important to safeguard the functioning of the WTO dispute settlement system. Germany therefore strongly supports the European Commission´s efforts to reform the WTO. We must now jointly stabilise the system and make it fit for the future, and everyone will win in the process”.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is celebrating its 25th birthday today. On 15 April 1994, the Marrakesh Agreement was signed, establishing the WTO. Building upon the GATT agreement, the founding of the WTO gave international trade a firm institutional framework. Since then, the WTO has stood for multilateral trade rules which can also be enforced through binding dispute settlement procedures. Furthermore, the multilateral set of rules has been extended beyond provisions on trade in goods, to include rules on trade in services and the protection of intellectual property, in particular.