Economic contraction in most of the industrial world and steep export declines already posted in the early months of this year by most major economies — particularly those in Asia — makes for an unusually bleak trade assessment, said the WTO in its annual assessment of global trade.
The government applying for membership has to describe all aspects of its trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO agreements.
For large countries such as Russia, numerous countries participate in this process. For smaller countries, the Quadrilateral group of countries — consisting of the EU, the United States, Canada and Japan — and an applicant's neighboring countries are typically most involved. The Working Party Members submit written questions to the applicant to clarify aspects of its foreign trade regime with particular attention being paid to the degree of privatization in the economy and the extent to which government regulation is transparent.
The WP determines the terms and conditions of entry into the WTO for the applicant nation, and may consider transitional periods to allow countries some leeway in complying with the WTO rules.
These talks cover tariff rates and specific market access commitments, and other policies in goods and services.
The new member's commitments are to apply equally to all WTO members under normal non-discrimination rules, even though they are negotiated bilaterally. In other words, the talks determine the benefits in the form of export opportunities and guarantees other WTO members can expect when the new member joins.
The talks can be highly complicated; it has been said that in some cases the negotiations are almost as large as an entire round of multilateral trade negotiations. Once the General Council or Ministerial Conference approves of the terms of accession, the applicant's parliament must ratify the Protocol of Accession before it can become a member.
The 28 states of the European Union are dually represented, as the EU is a full member of the organization.
Non-sovereign autonomous entities of member states are eligible for full membership in the WTO provided that they have a separate customs territory with full autonomy in the conduct of their external commercial relations.
The WTO also has 23 observer states,  that with the exception of the Holy See must start their accession negotiations within five years of becoming observers.
The last country admitted as observer-only before applying for full membership was Equatorial Guinea inbut since it is also in full membership negotiations. In Liberia and Comoros applied directly for full membership.
Some international intergovernmental organizations are also granted observer status to WTO bodies. The final major point of contention — related to the Russo-Georgian War — was solved through mediation by Switzerland,  leading to Russian membership in The other is Iran, which is an observer state and begun negotiations in List of members and accession dates[ edit ] The following table lists all current members, their accession date and previous GATT membership.Norway’s opening statement during the 7th Trade Policy Review of Norway in the WTO.
Norway requests WTO dispute settlement consultations with the United States Norway's statement during the 5th trade policy review of Colombia in the World Trade Organisation. Australia triumphed on Thursday in a major trade dispute over its pioneering "plain" tobacco packaging law, with World Trade Organization judges rejecting a complaint brought by Cuba, Indonesia.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations.
Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
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Its tasks include epidemic control, quarantine measures, and drug standardization. Learn more about its history, organizational structure, and priorities. More information about Norway is available on the Norway Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Norway also is an observer to the Organization of American States.