The World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2020.

Publication Type

WTO 2025: Constructing an executive branch

Working Papers 22-8
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse


The World Trade Organization (WTO) as an institution accords much less of a role to its chief officer and her staff, namely the WTO Director-General and the Secretariat, than do any of its sister international organizations—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—to their chief officers and staff. The WTO Secretariat is much smaller than its peer international organizations and underfunded. In considering WTO reform, this deficiency needs to be rectified if the WTO’s performance is to live up to its Members’ needs.

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