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How public diplomacy practitioners can engage with the World Trade Organisation?

The WTO maintains regular dialogue with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on various issues related to international trade. The aim is to enhance cooperation and increase NGOs' awareness of WTO activities and the role of the rules-based multilateral trading system.


At the creation of the WTO in 1995, WTO members established a legal basis for consultation and cooperation with NGOs (Article V.2 of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization).

In July 1996, the General Council clarified the mandate (WT/L/162), which acts as the basis for WTO-NGO relations today.

Members recognized “the role NGOs can play to increase the awareness of the public in respect of WTO activities” and agreed “to improve transparency and develop communication with NGOs” by giving the WTO Secretariat the authority to establish direct contacts with NGOs. They identified a number of communication channels, including the organization of a symposium (now known as the Public Forum) and briefings. The WTO's Information and External Relations Division has a team dedicated to working with NGOs.

How can NGOs keep up to date about WTO issues?