13 October 2004

Cambodia raises WTO membership to 148

Cambodia became the WTO’s 148th member on 13 October 2004, almost 10 years after it first applied and just over a year after its membership package was approved at the Cancún Ministerial Conference.

After Nepal joined on 23 April 2004, Cambodia is now the second least-developed country to join the WTO through the full working party negotiation process. It brings the current number of least-developed countries in the WTO to 32.

Although the membership agreement was approved in Cancún on 11 September 2003, Cambodia told the General Council on 11 February 2004 that its ratification was held up because of delays in setting up a new government. The Cambodian Parliament finally ratified the deal in September 2004, and following standard practice Cambodia became a member one month after it informed the WTO.

Cambodia applied to join the WTO in December 1994.

Another 24 countries are negotiating membership (listed from oldest to most recent application): Algeria, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Ukraine, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Seychelles, Tonga, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Andorra, Laos, Samoa, Lebanese Republic, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Yemen, Serbia and Montenegro, Bahamas, Tajikistan, Ethiopia, and Libya.

Eight are least-developed: Bhutan, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Laos, Samoa, Sudan, Vanuatu and Yemen.

Vanuatu has completed the negotiations but no further action has been taken since the working party’s last meeting on 29 October 2001.