The WTO aims to provide a firm institutional footing to international trade rules by facilitating the administration, implementation, and operation of multilateral trade agreements and negotiations, as well as handling trade disputes.

But an overall lessening of trust, and an absence of consensus among WTO members on the way forward has contributed to its problems recently, while the US and China - the world’s two largest economies - appear poised for a trade war as the WTO faces criticism for perceived weakness in dealing with alleged trade abuses by China.

For the WTO to remain relevant, it would appear reform is likely - to ensure that rules of international trade can deal effectively with transnational corporations, and limit the rights of states to intervene in their operations.