According to a 2017 study in the Journal of International Economic Law, “almost all the latest preferential trade agreements (EPAs) explicitly refer to the WTO, often dozens of times in several chapters. Similarly, in many of these EDPs, we find that essential parts of the language of the treaty – the majority of a chapter at a given time – are literally copied from a WTO agreement… the WTO`s presence in the EPZs has increased over time.  The WTO deals with the regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by imposing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute settlement procedure to enforce WTO agreements signed by representatives of member governments:fol.9-10 and ratified by their Parliament.  The WTO prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security and other important objectives.  Trade disputes are settled by independent WTO judges in dispute resolution proceedings.  The current Director-General of the WTO is Roberto Azevédo, who manages a staff of more than 600 people in Geneva, Switzerland.  On 7 December 2013, all members agreed on an agreement on trade facilitation, which is part of the Bali Decision Package, the first comprehensive agreement in the organization`s history.  On 23 January 2017, the amendment to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the first time that WTO agreements have been amended since the organization opened in 1995, and this amendment should ensure that developing countries have a legal means of using affordable prices under WTO rules.  The EU`s common trade policy is one of the areas in which the UNION, as such, has full and exclusive competence. In other words, the EU is a single player in the WTO and is represented by the Commission and not by the Member States. The Commission negotiates trade agreements and defends the EU`s interests before the WTO`s dispute settlement body on behalf of the 28 member states.
The Commission regularly consults and reports to the Council and the European Parliament on the content and strategy of multilateral discussions. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the Council and Parliament are co-legislators who have an equal say in international trade. As international trade went beyond trade in material goods and covered services and ideas, GATT was transformed and institutionalized as the World Trade Organization (WTO). Created in 1995 as a result of the Uruguay Round trade negotiations, it included previous trade agreements such as the GATT itself, the agriculture agreement and the textile and clothing agreement, as well as other general agreements.