WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO


28 July 2004

Libya given green light to negotiate WTO membership

WTO members agreed on 27 July 2004 to start talks with Libya on its membership bid, bringing the current number of applicant countries to 25.

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The decision was taken in the General Council on 27 July. Following the normal procedure for negotiating membership, the General Council agreed to set up a working party to examine Libyaĺs application, the first step in the accession process. Libya first applied to become a WTO member in December 2001.

The working party, whose participation is open to all WTO members, will start its work as soon as a chairperson is appointed by the chairman of the General Council in consultations with representatives of members and the representative of Libya.

As an applicant country, Libya will also be an observer to the WTO during the membership negotiation.

Ms. Najat Mehdi Al-Hajjaji, ambassador and permanent representative of the Libyan Araba Jamahiriya to the WTO, addressed the General Council immediately after the decision.

She said her country looks forward to WTO membership with the aim of achieving economic development, diversification of its sources of income, the attainment of economic benefits and the consolidation of good trade and economic relations with WTO member states, for the accomplishment of economic development for all.

Another 24 countries are now negotiating the terms of accession to the WTO.

General Council meeting suspended

Shortly after the decision, when the General Council had finished discussing more routine agenda items, chairperson Shotaro Oshima suspended the meeting. It will be reconvened when the informal meetings and consultations are ready to present a decision on the July package of the Doha Agenda work programme.

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Photo: The Libyan ambassador welcomes the decision (34KB, 640x417 pixels photo opens in a new window)