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WTO NEWS: 2002 PRESS RELEASES

Press/318/Rev.1
16 October 2002
ACCESSION: FYR OF MACEDONIA

General Council approves accession of FYR of Macedonia

The General Council today approved the accession of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the World Trade Organization. After the Council's decision, Minister of Economy, Besnik Fetai, in a ceremony attended by WTO Director-General, Supachai Panitchpakdi, signed the Protocol of Accession to formally complete the negotiating process.

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Dr. Supachai welcomed the conclusion of FYR of Macedonia’s negotiations which started in December 1994, and said he was looking forward to the Republic becoming a full and active Member of the Organization.

“FYR of Macedonia’s forthcoming accession to the WTO is an important event”, the Director-General said. “It commits a young and economically reforming country to the multilateral trading system while creating a more predictable environment for business, trade and investment. This accession also represents another step in making the WTO and its rules truly universal”.

At the signing ceremony, Mr. Fetai, Minister of Economy and National Coordinator for the Accession, was also accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister, Zoran Krstevski, Finance Minister, Nikola Gruevski, and Agriculture Minister, Marjan Gjeorcev.

The Protocol of Accession is now subject to the ratification of the FYR of Macedonia’s Parliament. Thirty days after the Secretariat receives official notification of this ratification, the country will become a Member of the WTO.

World merchandise trade of the FYR of Macedonia amounted to US$2.8 billion in 2001 of which US$1.17 billion were exports and US$1.63 billion were imports. In the year 2000, FYR of Macedonia had a total trade in services of US$631 million of which US$281 million were exports and US$350 million imports.

There are now 26 countries in negotiations for accession to the WTO : Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Kazakstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Nepal, Russian Federation, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tonga, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.