During the past four years, business sections of the international press have repeatedly reported on the development of the WTO in a pessimistic tone. These reports mainly referred to the deadlock of the Doha-Round negotiations and frequently concluded that the organisation is facing a crisis which will lead to new challenges in the world trade system. In order to provide an understanding of such views, this article firstly aims to provide an overview of the WTO, its structure, principles and working methods, before describing the Doha-round negotiations and the implications for the further development of the organisation. In particular, it focuses on an emerging bilateralism but also explains the relevance of the WTO as well as its dispute settlement for the economies of the WTO members. Furthermore, it comments on forthcoming events that are considered to be of major significance for the organisation's future.