US Trade Representative Rob Portman Friday announced that the United States and Saudi Arabia have concluded bilateral negotiations on issues related to Saudi Arabia's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession. The bilateral agreement provides new market access opportunities for U.S. providers of agriculture, goods and services and sets the stage for Saudi Arabia to complete accession negotiations with WTO Members. To complete its accession bid, work will resume in Geneva to complete required multilateral negotiations.
"This represents progress for Saudi Arabia, the United States and the WTO," said U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. "As a result of negotiations on its accession to the WTO, we will see greater openness, further development of the rule of law, and political and economic reform in Saudi Arabia. We have also increased our cooperation on bilateral and multilateral issues.
“The United States has been working with Saudi Arabia for over a decade on its Membership bid. The negotiations have been tough given the complexity of the issues. Trade Minister Yamani and his team have worked hard to pursue real economic reforms that will contribute to peace and stability in the region.
“In my consultations with Congress, Members expressed their interest in ensuring that Saudi Arabia implements these important changes. We will be working with Saudi Arabia and our partners to ensure full compliance with WTO rules. Over the course of the negotiations, the Administration has consulted closely with the Congress about America’s concerns and interests, most particularly Members and Staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.”
Saudi Arabia has confirmed that it will not invoke the non-application provision of the WTO Agreement and thus will have WTO relations with all WTO Members. Saudi Arabia has also confirmed that it will not apply the secondary and tertiary aspects of the Arab Boycott of Israel.