The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) was founded in 1968 following the establishment of the first World Trade Center in New Orleans and followed later in 1973 by the better known World Trade Center in New York City. WTCA is a not-for-profit, non-political association dedicated to the establishment and effective operation of World Trade Centers (WTCs) as instruments for international trade expansion. As of 2007, the WTCA has more than 287 licensed world trade affiliates in 88 countries, as well as more than 750,000 companies and individuals (World Trade Center of Grenoble in France for example). The WTCA is an unofficial umbrella trade association that unites corporations and government agencies in international trade.
In 2013 it was disclosed that the Association benefited substantially from its use of the "World Trade Center" name after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey transferred to the Association in 1987 its local rights to the name for a token fee of $10. By licensing the use of the name to its members, including World Trade Center-branded merchandise, the Association generated considerable revenues while absorbing the heavy costs of registering the name and defending it against improper use in many countries. The terms of the licensing arrangement were not widely publicized until 2013 when it became known that the Port Authority had supported the mission of the Association by providing rent-free office space and other help, with Association staff serving as the trade assistance arm of the World Trade Center. In December, 2018, Judge Swain in federal court in New York held that the wording of the 1986 assignment to the World Trade Centers Association did not include trademark rights for WORLD TRADE CENTER (such as for souvenir items bearing that mark). The WTCA received only ownership of the mark for services, such as for licensing to entities around the world. 
The WTCA's founding principles are:
The WTCA is governed by a 24-member international Board of Directors, composed of executives from WTCA members around the world, and elected by the membership. Eight permanent committees have been established to carry on the work of the Association in the following fields: