In 1993, the GATT was updated (“GATT 1994”) to take on new obligations to its signatories. One of the most important changes was the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The current 76 members of THE GATT and the European Communities became founding members of the WTO on 1 January 1995. The remaining 51 GATT members re-joined the WTO over the next two years (the last being Congo in 1997). Since the creation of the WTO, 33 new GATT members have joined and 22 are currently negotiating membership. In total, the WTO has 164 member states, with Liberia and Afghanistan being the most recent members from 2018. At the end of the Uruguay Round, 128 nations were part of the GATT. As noted above, the OIE standards are recognized as relevant international animal health standards under the SPS Convention and could then be considered relevant to the obT agreement and the determination of the legitimate purpose of Article 2.2. The 2008 version of the OIE Land Health Code contains a set of animal welfare standards in Section 7. Some of these standards have direct and clear links to animal health, while others have different ethical or production improvement objectives. It is not clear: (a) whether, on the basis of these ethical grounds, labelling requirements would be considered legitimate objectives within the meaning of Article 2.2 TBT and (b) if the OIE animal health code were considered a relevant international standard in this regard. It should also be noted that there is little international consensus on animal ethics, as opinions vary according to national systems, infrastructures and traditions. In any case, most animal welfare markings are voluntary.
(On the issue of animal welfare standards and the WTO, see Thiermann and Babcock, 2005. During the Great Depression, the collapse of international relations and increased trade regulation exacerbated poor economic conditions and contributed to the outbreak of World War II. After the war, the Allies believed that a multilateral framework for world trade would soften the protectionist policy that defined the 1930s and create economic interdependence that would foster partnership and reduce the risk of conflict. The idea was to create a code of conduct that would gradually liberalize (or soften) international trade. Under this code of conduct, consultations on trade issues could be conducted and resolved between Member States, and data on the characteristics and trends of global trade could be collected and shared. Finally, free trade agreements between countries were authorized under the GATT, including the 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The creation of a single European currency became an official objective of the European Economic Community in 1969.
But it was only with the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 that Member States had a legal obligation to create monetary union. In 1999, the euro was adopted by 11 of the 15 EU Member States. There was still an accounting currency until 1 January 2002, when euro notes and coins were issued and national currencies of the euro area, which at that time consisted of twelve Member States.