Iraq has been formally granted observer status at the World Trade Organization (WTO) by a consensus agreement of the General Council.
Observer status is considered a stepping stone to accession, and countries granted observer status must begin the process of moving towards full membership within five years. "It is an important step for Iraq towards integration into the global economy," said director general of foreign economic relations at Iraq's Ministry of Trade, Ahmad Al-Muktar.
Talking to reporters after the decision was announced, Deputy US trade representative Ambassador Peter Allgeier said WTO participation should bolster Iraqis' domestic economic reforms "as they look at the sorts of disciplines and transparency that we have in the WTO."
Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Al-Muktar said Iraq wants to start the process of accession "as soon as possible" and has already amended some laws and taken a number of other steps to adjust to WTO requirements. He added that he believed news of Iraq's WTO observer status would have a positive psychological impact in Iraq. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )