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Other Accessions

Algeria

Algeria applied for accession to the GATT (1947) in April 1987. Algeria did not initiate negotiations, and in 1995, the accession process was resumed under the WTO. The first meeting of the Working Party on Accession was held in April 1998. The last Working Party meeting was held January 15, 2008, to review draft WP report and status of market access negotiations and legislative implementation. Algeria now has requested that its Working Party be convened, and it is likely that a meeting will be scheduled for the first half of 2013, provided that Algeria circulates the documentation and revised offers requested by WP members in 2008.

Earlier in the accession process, the United States has provided technical assistance through the Commercial Development Law Program (CLDP) of the Department of Commerce for legislative review and training, as well as drafting and translating documentation for the negotiations.

Andorra

The Working Party on Andorra's accession to the WTO was established in December 1997. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) was circulated in January 1998. The first Working Party Meeting convened on October 13, 1999. Andorra described its trade regime, and the WP members reviewed the proposed legislative implementation schedule and Andorra's initial offers for goods and services market access. Further informal discussions on Andorra's application were held in November 2000. There has been no activity on this accession since that time.

The Bahamas

The Working Party on The Bahamas' accession to the WTO was established in July 2001. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) was circulated in April 2009 and the second Working Party meeting took place in June 2012. The Bahamas also has initiated market access negotiations for goods. A third Working Party meeting is expected in the first half of 2013.

Belarus

Belarus applied for accession to the GATT (1947) in October 1993, after holding observer status for about a year. In 1995, the accession process was continued under the WTO. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) was circulated in January 1996. The first meeting of the Working Party on Accession was held in June 1997.

The last Working Party meeting was held on May 24, 2005, to review a draft Factual Summary of information developed in the negotiations, and to review the status of market access negotiations and legislative implementation. No additional WP meetings have been held since that time.

Based on fresh documentation from Belarus and an improved services market access offer, WTO Members have signaled a readiness to resume WP meetings in 2013.

Iran

The Working Party on Iran's accession to the WTO was established in May 2005 and its Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) was circulated in November 2009. Iran circulated responses to WTO Members’ comments and questions on that document and relevant legislation in December 2011. A first Working Party meeting will be called as soon as a Chairman has been appointed for the Working Party. 

Iraq

Iraq applied for WTO accession in September 2004, and submitted its Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime in September 2005. The first Working Party meeting was held in May 2007, and the second meeting was held in April 2008, both focusing on clarification of Iraq’s trade regime. A third meeting has been postponed pending a decision by the Iraqi government to move forward. Iraq also has been requested to provide its initial market access offers on goods and services before the next Working Party.

The United States strongly supports Iraq’s participation in the WTO, and has provided technical assistance to help Iraq's government with the accession process, including help with WTO training of officials, legal drafting, tariff classification, and specific guidance on implementation of WTO provisions (e.g., in the areas of investment, standards and technical regulations, intellectual property protection, customs, and services).

Lebanese Republic (Lebanon)

Lebanon’s Working Party (WP) was established by the WTO General Council in April 1999, and its Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime circulated to Members for review and comment in June 2001. The first Working Party meeting was held in October 2002. Lebanon’s most recent WP meeting – its seventh – was held in October 2009, to review additional documentation, including the revised draft of the Report of the Working Party, and to summarize progress to date in the negotiations. However, due to Lebanon’s ongoing political crisis, enactment of legislation to implement WTO or further progress in market access negotiations is not possible at this time. As a result, the next meeting of the Working Party or bilateral work has been postponed pending a decision by the government of the Lebanese Republic to move forward.

Through USAID and United States - Middle East Partnership Initiative, the United States has provided technical assistance in the form of resident advisors and short term specific assistance to help Lebanon's government with the accession process, including help with WTO training of officials, legal drafting, production of documents for WP meetings and negotiations, and guidance on implementation of WTO provisions (e.g., in the areas of standards and technical regulations, intellectual property protection, customs, and services).

Libya

The Working Party on Libya's accession to the WTO was established in July 2004. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) has not been circulated.

Seychelles

The Working Party on Seychelles' accession to the WTO was established in June 1995. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) was circulated in August 1996. The first Working Party Meeting convened on February 20, 1997, but Seychelles allowed the negotiations to lapse in early 1998. After a hiatus of 12 years, Seychelles sought resumption of its accession negotiations based on new documentation and its Working Party convened in November 2010. Seychelles most recent WP meeting – its third – was held in July 2012. The next Working Party meeting is expected in the first half of 2013.

Syrian Arab Republic (Syria)

The Working Party on Syria’s accession to the WTO was established in May 2010. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) has not been circulated.

Uzbekistan

The Working Party on Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO was established in December 1994. The Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) was circulated in October 1998, and the first Working Party meeting was held on July 17, 2002. The third and most recent WP meeting was held in October 2005 to review additional documentation and initial market access offers. Uzbekistan has requested to resume WP meetings during 2013.