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Iraq Achieves Observer Status at the WTO

Baghdad, February 12 – the Coalition Provisional Authority today welcomed Iraq’s newly-gained observer status at the World Trade Organisation. Iraq was accepted as an observer yesterday by all 176 members and observers of the WTO at a meeting of the WTO General Council in Geneva.

“I am delighted that Iraq has succeeded in achieving this aspiration. Pursuing observer status at the WTO was an Iraqi initiative. Yesterday Iraq re-joined the world community and took another step towards ending the isolation caused by the previous regime. In doing so she has made clear her determination to rebuild her economy and adhere to the market principles underlying the WTO”, said CPA Administrator L. Paul Bremer III.

Iraq’s representative at the General Council meeting, Mr Ahmad Al-Mukhtar, Director General for Foreign Economic Relations at the Ministry of Trade, told delegations assembled in Geneva that “this is an important step for Iraq towards integration into the global economy.” Trade Minister Dr Ali Allawi formally announced Iraq’s acceptance at a press conference in Baghdad, saying “the real winners are the Iraqi people...this gives all of us great hope for the future.” He added that he hoped Iraq would obtain full membership within two years.

Notes for Editors

1. Iraq applied for observer status in January 2004. Observer status allows Iraq to attend the internal deliberations of all WTO bodies, to learn WTO rules and procedures and to qualify for training assistance.

2. Iraq has already brought many of its trading rules into conformity with the WTO. Adoption of WTO provisions and liberalising tariffs and trade in services, in the context of working towards WTO membership, will support ongoing efforts for economic reform in Iraq and fuller integration into world markets.

3. Eventual membership of the WTO will help Iraq to reach important economic goals such as achieving sustainable growth, promoting industry, attracting foreign investment, raising living standards and asserting national trade interests worldwide.



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