Iraq seeks full WTO membership during conf. Monday
29/11/2009 – 16:14
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Iraq will attend the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference to be held in Geneva on Monday within third-round negotiations to be granted full membership in the world body, according to an Iraqi Trade Ministry media source on Sunday.
“A delegation from the higher national committee led by Acting Trade Minister Safaa al-Din al-Safi will be attending the three-day WTO ministerial conference. The delegation will discuss ways to have Iraq obtain full-fledged membership instead of its current observer status,” Faraj al-Jaafari told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Iraq had held two rounds of talks with the WTO secretariat in Geneva during the ministerial conference, the seventh one which comes four years after the last meeting held in Hong Kong in 2005.
Taking part in the gathering will be ministers of trade from 153 member states in addition to ministers from countries that have observer status and seek full membership in addition to representatives of relevant international organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other government and non-government agencies.
Established in 1995, the WTO has stemmed from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that was set up in the aftermath of World War II. GATT was signed by 23 nations at a trade conference in 1947 and became effective in 1948. The 1994 GATT pact also provided for establishment of the WTO, which took over GATT’s functions.
Although the WTO operates a dispute settlement process similar to the one under GATT, it has stronger powers to enforce agreements, including the authority to issue trade sanctions against a country that refuses to revoke an offending law or practice.
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