Saudi Arabia's bid for WTO accession in final stages

GENEVA - Talks on Saudi Arabia's accession to the World Trade Organisation are in their final stages, the diplomat leading the negotiations said on Thursday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 1 May 2004, 10:54 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:21 PM

"The accession process is indeed in its final stages," Pakistan's ambassador Munir Akram said as he concluded a two-hour meeting of the WTO working party dealing with the Saudi membership bid.

Akram was aiming for a "very substantial meeting" by June 14, a WTO official said.

However, the United States cautioned that it might take some time to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries, notably on the insurance industry, the official added.

Saudi Arabia still has to strike bilateral deals with the United States and Panama to pave the way for its accession to the 147-country global free trade system.

Saudi and US trade negotiators are due to meet in Washington next week.

On the overall deal with the trade body, Akram urged Saudi Arabia to complete remaining goods and services negotiations as soon as possible, the official said.

Saudi officials are aiming to join the WTO by the end of the year.

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