4 April 2003

WTO membership rises to 146

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on 4 April 2003, became the 146th Member of the World Trade Organization.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia started its accession negotiations in 1994. The WTO’s General Council approved the accession package on 15 October 2002. On 5 March 2003 the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia notified the WTO that the process of ratification and acceptance of the Protocol of Accession had been completed in Parliament. According to established practice, the entry into force of the Protocol occurred 30 days later — on 4 April 2003.

Another 26 countries are in the process of negotiation to become members of the WTO.

These are (arranged by the date of their application): Algeria, Nepal, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Ukraine, Sudan, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Seychelles, Tonga, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Andorra, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Samoa, Lebanese Republic, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Yemen, Serbia and Montenegro, Bahamas, Tajikistan and Ethiopia.

Vanuatu has completed the negotiations but no further action has been taken since the last meeting of the Working Party on 29 October 2001.

Requests for accession have also been received from Iran, Syria and Libya but working parties on these applications have not yet been established.