World Trade Organization

Outline of the organisation

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organisation designed to supervise and liberalise international trade. The WTO came into being on 1 January 1995, and is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was created in 1947, and continued to operate for almost five decades as a de facto international organisation.

The WTO deals with the rules of trade between nations at a global or near-global level; it is responsible for negotiating and implementing new trade agreements, and is in charge of policing Members' adherence to all the WTO agreements, signed by the bulk of the world's trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The WTO is governed by a Ministerial Conference, which meets every two years; a General Council, which implements the conference's policy decisions and is responsible for day-to-day administration; and a Director-General, who is appointed by the Ministerial Conference. The WTO headquarters are in Geneva.

Positions available

The WTO has no regular program of recruiting for entry-level positions. The WTO does, however, offer a Young Professional Programme and internships to postgraduate students.

(1) Internships

Assignments given to interns are intended to enhance interns' knowledge and understanding of the WTO and of trade policy more generally. However, internships include opportunities in other specialist areas, such as finance, human resources, language services, IT and communications. The division to which the intern is assigned determines the precise nature of the work to be undertaken. Many interns work in the following areas:

  • Trade law
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Trade policy
  • Languages
  • Administration (procurement, finance, human resources)
  • Information, communication and external relations
  • Information management

The WTO will pay interns a daily allowance of CHF 60 to cover living costs, however travel costs to Geneva will not be covered. Travel expenses to and from Geneva cannot be paid by the WTO, and such travel is not covered by the Organization's insurance.

Medical health insurance coverage is mandatory for participants in internships at the WTO. Individuals can either take out their own insurance or opt to be insured by the WTO's insurance arrangement, which costs approximately USD 36.62 per month. This can be arranged by the HR Division on the intern's first day of work.

A roster of suitable candidates is maintained from which interns are selected. Suitable applications are maintained on the roster for one year.

Intake to the WTO Internship Programme is on an ongoing basis, with no specific recruitment period. However, there may be specific vacancy notices for internship positions requiring particular qualifications published on the WTO's e-Recruitment website.


Applicants must:

  • be a national of a WTO member state or a country or customs territory engaged in accession negotiations;
  • have completed his/her undergraduate studies in a relevant discipline and have completed at least one year of his/her postgraduate studies; and
  • be at least 21 years old and a maximum of 30 years old during the internship.

Internships go up to a maximum of six months.

Application process

(2) Young Professional Programme

The WTO Young Professional Programme is an opportunity for qualified young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO to enhance their knowledge regarding WTO and international trade issues. The programme aims to attract professionals from under-represented countries who can consequently improve their chances of being recruited by the WTO and/or other regional and international organisations. The Programme is part of the Secretariat's efforts to increase diversity and broaden the representation of the membership.

The selected young professionals are allocated to a specific division of the WTO Secretariat in accordance with the needs and priorities of the organisation and based on the areas of interest of the young professional. The areas of work may include accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.

Participants under the programme receive a monthly salary of CHF 3,500. The WTO also provides appropriate medical cover and travel costs.


Applicants must:

  • be a national of a WTO member state;
  • have an advanced university degree in law, economics, and other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work;
  • have a minimum of two years' relevant experience;
  • demonstrate a high level of interest in international trade and commitment to WTO-related work;
  • be fluent in English. A good working knowledge of one of the WTO's other official languages, French or Spanish, would be an advantage; and
  • be 32 years of age or younger at the expected start date of the YPP, if selected.

Preference is given to nationals from WTO members without any representation at the professional level in the Secretariat.


One year without possibility of extension.

Application process

The request for applications for the Young Professionals Programme is published each year on