Algeria still has a way to go to complete structural reforms before being allowed to join the WTO. While previously hoped Algeria could join as early as late 2004, it is not going to happen, at the very earliest, until the second quarter of 2005, according to representative of the WTO, Melle Emmanuelle Ganne, following a meeting on Saturday in Geneva. Ganne believes it is more likely to take a full year before Algeria can join the 147-country organization, which affords considerable trade advantages.
Algerian officials were quoted in the local press as saying this confirms the advanced stage of negotiations and the new time line is not a setback.
WTO officials have declared that Algeria needs to pay more attention to privatization, trade in pharmaceuticals and international standards relating to investment, which are still "not resolved", according to Ganne. This is contrary to the claims of Algerian officials such as Industry Minister, Nourredine Boukrouh, that multilateral negotiations are "at an advanced stage." WTO representative Joseph Bosch claims, however that multilateral negotiations are at an "intermediary stage." (menareport.com)
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