About the WTOA brief historyThe WTO began life on 1 January 1995 but its trading system is half a centuryolder. Since 1948, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) hadprovided the rules for the system.Whereas GATT had mainly dealt with trade ingoods, the WTO and its agreements now cover trade in services, and in tradedinventions, creations and designs (intellectual property).’99SeptemberMike Moore (New Zealand) becomesWTO Director-General.November’94 ’96Third Ministerial Conference takesplace in Seattle, US.April DecemberMarrakesh Agreement establishingthe WTO is signed.2000JanuaryNegotiations begin on services.MarchFirst Ministerial Conferencetakes place in Singapore.Negotiations begin on agriculture.’97’01DecemberNovember70 WTO members reach amultilateral agreement to opentheir financial services sector.Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar.Doha Development Agenda is launched.’98’02MaySeptemberSecond MinisterialConference takesplace in Geneva.Supachai Panitchpakdi(Thailand) is elected WTODirector-General.’95JanuaryThe WTO is born on 1 January.MayRenato Ruggiero (Italy) takesoffice as WTO Director-General.16WTO MinisterialA Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014

About the WTO’12’03JuneMontenegro joins the WTO.MayMinisterial discussions on theDoha Round take place inGeneva.’09SeptemberSeptemberAprilFifth MinisterialConference takes place inCancún, Mexico.First WTO Public Forum takesplace in Geneva.DG Pascal Lamy reappointed forsecond term of four years.JulySecond Global Review of Aid forTrade takes place in Geneva.’04SeptemberJulyMinisterial discussions onthe Doha Round take placein Geneva.’05SeptemberPascal Lamy (France) becomes WTODirector-General.DecemberFirst WTO Open Day in Geneva.November’07JanuaryViet Nam becomes the WTO’s150th member.NovemberFirst Global Review of Aid forTrade takes place in Geneva.Sixth Ministerial Conference takesplace in Hong Kong, China. Aid forTrade initiative is launched. Hong KongDeclaration is approved.Seventh Ministerial Conferencetakes place in Geneva.AugustRussia and Vanuatu jointhe WTO.’13FebruaryLaos joins the WTO.MarchTajikistan becomes the 159thmember of the WTO.’10JanuaryNew “Chairs Programme”launched to support developingcountry universities.SeptemberSeptemberSecond WTO Open Day in Geneva.Roberto Azevêdo (Brazil)takes office as WTODirector-General.’08’11JulyJulyCabo Verde joins the WTO.Third Global Review of Aid forTrade takes place in Geneva.Ministerial discussions on the DohaRound take place in Geneva.Samoa joins the WTO.A YEAR IN REVIEWABOUT THE WTOMEMBERSHIPApril’06DecemberNinth Ministerial Conferencetakes place in Bali, Indonesia.“Bali Package” adopted.DecemberEighth Ministerial Conferencetakes place in Geneva.World Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014A briefWTOMinisterialhistory swto17

MembershipJoining the WTOThe Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) and Tajikistan formally joinedthe WTO in 2013, raising WTO membership to 159. The Bali MinisterialConference in December adopted the accession terms of Yemen and clearedthe way for the country to join the WTO. The WTO provided further technicalassistance to acceding governments, including a five-day seminar in Geneva.The China Programme, which aims to strengthen the participation of leastdeveloped countries (LDCs) in the WTO, was extended for a further year.At the Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, ministers approved theaccession of Yemen after 13 years of negotiations. Yemen willbecome a WTO member 30 days after notifying its acceptanceand depositing the Instrument of Acceptance of its AccessionProtocol with the WTO Secretariat. The accession will bringthe WTO another step nearer its goal of universal membership.Several acceding governments are entering decisive stages oftheir accession negotiations. These include Afghanistan, Algeria,Azerbaijan, the Bahamas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan,Serbia and the Seychelles.Director-General Roberto Azevêdo issued the Fifth Annual Reporton WTO Accessions in November 2013. The report providesdetailed information on work on WTO accessions, the benefits ofWTO membership, policy issues and challenges in 2013, and athematic focus on transparency obligations and notifications.Stepping up technical assistanceTechnical assistance was strengthened in 2013, with accedinggovernments invited to participate in over 100 technicalassistance events.In September, the WTO Secretariat organized a five-day seminar– the Global Seminar on WTO Accessions – on the theme of“Safeguarding and strengthening the rules-based multilateraltrading system”. Held in Geneva, the seminar gave officials ofMembership of the WTO (as of 31 December 2013)Member1AlbaniaAngolaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaAustraliaAustriaBahrain, Kingdom ofBangladeshBarbadosBelgiumBelizeBeninBolivia, Plurinational State ofBotswanaBrazilBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCabo VerdeCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaColombiaCongoCosta RicaCôte d’IvoireCroatiaCubaCyprus118Year of emberYear of accessionCzech RepublicDemocratic Republic of the CongoDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEstoniaEuropean UnionFijiFinlandFranceGabonThe neaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHondurasHong Kong, r of accessionJamaicaJapanJordanKenyaKorea, Republic ofKuwait, the State ofKyrgyz RepublicLatviaLao People’s Democratic ao, itaniaMauritiusMexicoMoldova, Republic aNepalNetherlandsNew 99519951996Members are mostly governments but can also be customs territories.WTO MinisterialJoiningConferencethe Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014

AboutMembershipthe WTOacceding governments and WTO members the opportunity toexchange views and share experiences and best practices onWTO accession negotiations. It also reviewed the results of 31concluded Article XII accessions – countries that have joinedsince the establishment of the WTO in 1995.The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the WTO Secretariatcontinued their work under the joint ITC-WTO programme insupport of the private sector in acceding developing countries andLDCs. Working Party chairs visited several acceding governmentsto meet key domestic stakeholders to promote outreach, answerquestions and improve understanding of WTO membership.The Accessions Division also undertook briefings for newlydesignated Working Party chairs and new delegates as well asworkshops for parliamentarians and civil society. Several postaccession technical assistance activities took place focusing onTransparency was further enhanced by regular meetings of theInformal Group on Accessions, through the WTO accessionsnewsletter, the Director-General’s Annual Report on WTOAccessions and the annual accessions’ outreach dialogue withWTO groupings. In 2013, this dialogue included the LDCs’Consultative Group, the Informal Group of Developing Countries,the Asian Group of Developing Members, the Latin American andCaribbean Group, the African Group and the Arab Group.A YEAR IN REVIEWABOUT THE WTOMEMBERSHIPThe Secretariat continued with the implementation of China’sLDCs and Accessions Programme (China Programme). Theprogramme aims to strengthen LDC members’ participation inthe WTO and to assist acceding LDCs. From 15 to 18 October2013, the second high-level roundtable was held in LuangPrabang, Laos, focusing on the “Future of the multilateral tradingsystem: perspectives of least-developed countries and ArticleXII members”. As part of the China Programme, five more internswere selected to participate in the internship scheme at the WTOSecretariat. At the Ninth Ministerial Conference, Director GeneralAzevêdo and China’s Trade Minister Hucheng Gao signed a newmemorandum of understanding, extending the China Programmefor another year.implementation of the negotiated accession commitments andgeneral membership obligations.Background on joining the WTOThe WTO is open to states or customs territories with fullautonomy over their external commercial relations. To jointhe WTO, a government has to bring its economic andtrade policies in line with WTO rules and principles, andnegotiate with interested, individual trading partners onguaranteed minimum levels of access to their domesticmarkets for goods and services. It can take many years tobecome a WTO member because it requires the full supportand consensus of the existing membership. However, theaccession process is designed to ensure that new membersare able to participate fully in the multilateral trading systemfrom the outset.159 members (as of 2 March 2013)MemberYear of accessionNigeriaNorwayOmanPakistanPanamaPapua New maniaRussian FederationRwandaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSaudi Arabia, Kingdom ofSenegalSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovak RepublicSloveniaSolomon IslandsSouth 99519951995199619951995MemberYear of accessionSri LankaSurinameSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandChinese TaipeiTanzaniaTajikistanThailandThe former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(FYROM)TogoTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited States of AmericaUruguayVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofViet NamZambiaZimbabweCountries that officially became WTO members in 2013Lao 121995200719951995States/customs territories seeking to join the WTO(as of 2 March larusBhutan*Bosnia and HerzegovinaComoros*Equatorial Guinea*Ethiopia*IranIraqKazakhstanLebanese RepublicLiberia, Republic of*LibyaSão Tomé and Principe*SerbiaSeychellesSudan*Syrian Arab RepublicUzbekistanCountries that completed their WTO accession negotiations in 20132 February 20132 March 2013Date of approval of Accession Package**Yemen*4 December 2013* Least-developed country.** Formal WTO membership is subject to the ratification of the Accession Protocol by Yemen’s Parliament and the subsequentnotification and deposit of the Instrument of Acceptance of the Protocol with the WTO Director-General.World Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014JoiningWTOMinisterialthe WTO rs19

MembershipWelcoming new membersIn 2013, the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference approved the accession package ofYemen. Formal membership is now subject to the ratification of Yemen’s AccessionProtocol by the Yemeni parliament and the subsequent notification and deposit of theInstrument of Acceptance of the Protocol with the Director-General of the WTO.The negotiated terms and conditions contain commitments covering all WTO rules.The WTO accession process promotes the integration ofnew members into the global economy subject to binding andenforceable trade rules. Yemen undertook to liberalize its traderegime and accelerate its integration into the world economy.Yemen’s accession package contains specific commitments bindingit to WTO rules and includes, where necessary, specific transitionperiods, which have been negotiated to respond to particularneeds in a given area. It contains negotiated concessions andcommitments on market access for goods and services.The Ministerial Conference approved Yemen’s accession packageon 4 December, after 13 years of negotiations. Yemen will becomea WTO member 30 days after it notifies the WTO of its acceptanceof the accession terms and conditions.Yemeni Minister of Industry and Trade, H.E. Dr Saadaldeen Talib,said: “Sometimes, countries experience changing fortunes. But20WTO very essence of a country and the history and civilization oftrade remain. Our country has been trading for at least five or sixhundred years — in fact, since the Spice Route. As a member of theWTO, we aim to strengthen that role and to connect with everybodyin the world. We want to share our history, our products and ourculture, as we have done with Indonesia — the host of this MinisterialConference — for so many centuries.”Director-General Roberto Azevêdo congratulated the Government ofYemen on its domestic reforms and said: “Yemen will be our 160thmember – and our 35th LDC [least-developed country] member. It isa further, positive step towards universality.”During the accession process, WTO members have worked withYemen to adapt its trade laws to WTO rules and train its governmentofficials. WTO members are committed to continue to provide Yemenwith required technical assistance in its post-accession process.World Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014

YemenAccession Working Party report28728Market access for goodsA YEAR IN REVIEWABOUT THE WTOMEMBERSHIPNumber of paragraphsParagraphs withcommitment languageAverage final bound tariff rates:All goods21.1%Agricultural goods24.9%Non-agricultural goods20.5%Market access for servicesWorld Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014Sectors11Sub-sectors78New membersWTOMinisterial sions21

MembershipA global membershipTwo countries joined the WTO in 2013:the Lao People’s Democratic Republicand Tajikistan. The WTO currently has159 members, accounting for morethan 97 per cent of global trade. Oneleast-developed country (LDC),Yemen,concluded its accession negotiationsin 2013. This reduced the number ofcurrently acceding LDCs to eight.WTO membersNew members in 2013ObserversNon-members22WTO MinisterialA global org/ministerialWorld Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014

MembershipA YEAR IN REVIEWABOUT THE WTOMEMBERSHIPLao PDRNew member in 2013Geographical area236,800 km2Population (2013)6,695,166GDP (million currentUS , 2012)9,299GDP real growth rate 8.3 %(2012)TajikistanRank in world trade(goods)imports:exports:150131Rank in world trade(services)imports:exports:164139New member in 2013Geographical area143,100 km2Population (2013)7,910,041GDP (million currentUS , 2012)6,987GDP real growth rate 7.5 %(2012)Rank in world trade(goods)imports:exports:135146Rank in world trade(services)imports:exports:134132Source: WTO and World BankWorld Trade OrganizationAnnual Report 2014A g/

Zimbabwe 1995. 159 members (as of 2 March 2013) Member Year of accession Member Year of accession States/customs territories seeking to join the WTO (as of 2 March 2013) Afghanistan* Algeria Andorra. Azerbaijan Bahamas. Belarus Bhutan* Bosnia and Herzegovina Equatorial Guinea* Ethiopia* Iran.