These are essentially treaties that oblige governments to maintain their trade policies within the agreed limits. Although negotiated and signed by governments, the goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters and importers to carry out their activities, while enabling governments to achieve social and environmental objectives. Where countries have faced trade barriers and wanted to reduce them, negotiations have helped to open markets to trade. But the WTO is not just about opening markets and, in some circumstances, its rules support the maintenance of trade barriers, for example to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease. The overall goal of the system is to free up trade as much as possible as long as there are no unwanted side effects, as this is important for economic development and well-being. This partly means removing obstacles…