Countries wanting to join the WTO after it was established in 1995 have to negotiate bilateral agreements with major economic powers (most significantly) as part of their entry procedure. These bilateral negotiations lead to specific commitments, concessions and schedules to liberalise trade in good in services. The results of these bilateral negotiations are merged with the results of more general negotiations carried out between the candidate country and a working party of the WTO membership to form one overall "accession package".
The countries that are currently negotiating such deals:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Sometimes, the accession agreements commit countries to rules on trade liberalisation that exceed those of the WTO. For instance, Ecuador had to renounce its status as a "developing country", based on demands from the US, and thereby implement several WTO agreements within a much shorter timeframe. Nepal was pressured by Washington to commit to join UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties) as part of its TRIPS obligations, until public protest in Kathmandu killed this clause. China agreed to a range of "WTO-plus" measures pushed separately by the US and the EU, including anti-dumping measures and import restrictions to curtail the entry of Chinese goods into their markets.
last update: May 2012