26 May 2005

Accession working parties established for Iran, Sao Tomé and Principe

The General Council, on 26 May 2005, established separate working parties to examine the membership applications of Iran, and Sao Tomé and Principe, respectively.

Ambassador Mohammad Reza Alborzi of Iran said that “a decision that has long been overdue has now been established”. He added that “the future of Iran's working relationship with the WTO will make it more clear to us and to the member states as to the potential outcomes of the accession process, something that we would explore and examine closely and prudently”.

Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Hélder Pasquete Lima of Sao Tomé and Principe said that as an observer in the WTO since 2001 his country now wished to become a full member of this “big family of global multilateralism”. He said that Sao Tomé is a least-developed country, which believes the WTO can play a major role in promoting trade and development.

The WTO has 148 Members. The establishment of accession working parties for Iran, and Sao Tomé and Principe brings to 30 the number of governments negotiating entry into the WTO. These are Algeria (year of application: 1987), Russian Federation (1993), Saudi Arabia (1993), Belarus (1993), Ukraine (1993), Sudan (1994), Uzbekistan (1994), Vietnam (1995), Seychelles (1995), Tonga (1995), Kazakhstan (1996), Azerbaijan (1997), Lao People's Democratic Republic (1997), Samoa (1998), Andorra (1999), Lebanese Republic (1999), Bosnia Herzegovina (1999), Bhutan (1999), Cape Verde (1999), Yemen (2000), Bahamas (2001), Tajikistan (2001), Ethiopia (2003), Libya (2004), Iraq (2004), Afghanistan (2004), Republic of Serbia (2004), Republic of Montenegro (2004), Iran (2005), and Sao Tomé and Principe (2005).