23 April 2004

WTO membership rises to 147

The Kingdom of Nepal, on 23 April 2004, became the 147th Member of the World Trade Organization.

Nepal started its accession negotiations in 1989. The 5th WTO’s Ministerial Conference, at Cancún (Mexico), approved the accession package on 11 September 2003. On 24 March 2004 the Government of the Kingdom of Nepal notified the WTO that the process of ratification and acceptance of the Protocol of Accession had been completed. According to established practice, the entry into force of the Protocol occurred 30 days later — on 23 April 2004.

Another 24 countries are in the process of negotiation to become members of the WTO.

These are (arranged by the date of their application): Algeria, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Ukraine, Sudan, 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.

The Kingdom of Cambodia completed negotiations in 2003 but the process of ratification in Parliament is still pending.