Saudi Arabia Raises WTO Members to 149

11 Dec 2005

GENEVA - The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that Saudi Arabia became the 149th member of the WTO on December 11, 2005.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, at the conclusion of Saudi Arabia’s negotiations last month, said its membership “paves the way for a stronger multilateral trading system.”
The WTO General Council formally concluded, on November 11, 2005, negotiations with Saudi Arabia on the terms of the country’s membership to the WTO.
Saudi Arabia has been negotiating its membership since July 1993. It has completed its package of documents presenting the Kingdom’s terms of accession at the Working Party meeting on October 28, 2005. The legal texts, which run to some 600 pages, were formally accepted by the 148 member governments of the WTO at a special session of the General Council on November 11, 2005.
Dr. Hashim Yamani, Minister of Industry and Commerce, signed the Protocol of Accession with full powers, thus accepting the Protocol on behalf of the Kingdom.
As a result of the negotiations, Saudi Arabia has agreed to undertake a series of important commitments to further liberalize its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy, while offering a transparent and predictable environment for trade and foreign investment in accordance with WTO rules.

Among the commitments undertaken by Saudi Arabia are the following:

• Saudi Arabia agreed to review a fee charged for the authentication of trade documents and to bring it into conformity with WTO rules within two years of accession.
• Saudi Arabia will eliminate any non-tariff measures that cannot be justified under WTO rules while maintaining the right to restrict the importation and exportation of a certain number of goods and services in order to protect public morals, the life and health of the population, national security interests, etc.
• In areas such as the protection of intellectual property rights, Saudi Arabia will implement the relevant WTO Agreements in full from the date of accession (i.e. the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures).



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