Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Yesterday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) formed a working party to consider Syria's application for membership. The process for joining the WTO generally takes four stages. First, the State seeking to join must prepare and present a report to the WTO describing its trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO Agreements. Second, the State seeking to join must enter into bilateral negotiations with the existing members of the WTO regarding tariff rates, market access commitments and the like. Third, the WTO working party will draft and finalize the terms of the accession. Fourth and finally, the final package is presented to the WTO and 2/3 of the members must vote in favor for the accesstion to proceed. With the addition of the working party for Syria, there are now 30 States undergoing the WTO accession process. Syria has said it is confident that when its terms of negotiation are completed, they will result in improved market access, strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system, and increasing the welfare of people both globally and in Syria. More information on WTO accessions can be found here.