Original Members - WTO accessions from a member’s perspective: Safeguarding the rules-based system

Forms of collective action and balanced commitment through negotiations were the foundation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the structure for its daily work. These remain at the centrepiece of work in the WTO, in a system structured on the balance of rights and obligations. GATT contracting parties established the principles of balance and reciprocity, trade liberalisation and a system of mediation and dispute settlement for mutual resolution of GATT provisions. From this base, expansion of membership, pursuant to accession negotiations, has required a commitment to accepting GATT/WTO rules resulting from previous negotiations. WTO accession supports applicants’ efforts for economic reform and integration into world markets. This is one of the most important benefits of membership. Although challenging, accession negotiations and the implementation of WTO provisions support important economic goals such as sustainable growth, the promotion of high-tech industries, attraction of foreign direct investment, raised living standards and global assertion of national trade interest.

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