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WTO or World Trade Organisation was established in 1995 as a successor to the GATT.  It is an international forum comprising 164 members (countries or separate customs territories) based in Geneva.  A key function is to reduce or eliminate obstacles to trade and agree the rules by which international trade is carried out.  These rules are often designed to prevent discrimination (for instance by requiring that if country wishes to offer tariff free trade in a certain product it must give all countries tariff free trade) and maintain a level playing field (for which reason the WTO prevents trade-distorting subsidies).

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