World Trade Organization (WTO): Issues in the Debate on Continued U.S. Participation (June 16, 2010) [open pdf - 391KB]
"Following World War II, the United States led efforts to establish an open and nondiscriminatory trading system with the expressed goal of raising the economic well-being of all countries and bolstering world peace. These efforts culminated in the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1948, a provisional agreement on tariffs and trade rules that governed world trade for 47 years. The World Trade Organization (WTO) succeeded the GATT in 1995 and today serves as a permanent body that administers the rules and agreements negotiated and signed by 153 participating parties, as well as a forum for dispute settlement and negotiations. Section 125 of the Uruguay Round Agreements (P.L. 103-465), which is the law that approved and implemented the agreements reached during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, provided that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) must submit to Congress every five years a report that analyzes the costs and benefits of continued U.S. participation in the WTO. The USTR submitted its report to Congress on March 1, 2010, triggering a 90 legislative day timetable in which any Member of Congress may introduce a privileged joint resolution withdrawing congressional approval of the WTO Agreement (to date no withdrawal resolution has been introduced in the 111th Congress)."
CRS Report for Congress, R41291