A Handbook on Accession to the WTO

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The Handbook provides the first detailed explanation and analysis of the process whereby governments become Members of the WTO. The WTO Agreement, which came into force on 1 January, 1995, provides few details on how this process is to take place. Consequently, the steps in the detailed negotiations leading up to access have evolved through the actual negotiations for governments which have become Members of the WTO since 1995. This handbook is unique in providing an account of how the process evolved and in offering details on the process as it is now applied. Moreover, the input of the WTO Secretariat into the preparation of the guide provides information not available until now to anyone outside the Secretariat. The Secretariat has supported production of this handbook in the hope it will serve as a useful source of reference for officials from acceding governments, WTO Members, academia, and the general public.



Introduction and Summary

This Handbook is intended for readers wanting detailed information on the process of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). It will be of practical use to people involved in one way or another with the process and with the negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organization. The Handbook provides the general reader with a basis for informed discussion and analysis of the WTO’s membership process. It first places accession in the context of the WTO. It then sets out the basic provisions governing accession before going on to look at the standard procedures followed and then at the terms on which applicants have acceded to the Organization. Finally, its annexes bring together the main documents used in the accession process.


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