The Chairperson of the Working Party, Ambassador Omar Hilale of Morocco, stressed the importance of Iraq’s accession to the WTO. He explained that “the accession of Iraq is important for the WTO and the multilateral trading system at large. Iraq is one of the largest economies still outside that system. It is one of the most populous states in the Middle East with over 35 million people.
It has a large and diverse economy with a GDP of roughly USD 167 billion. It lies at the crossroads of the Middle East, and is home to countless historic and cultural treasures. Given its regional and, indeed, global strategic importance, it is thus appropriate that Iraq should take its place among the members of the organization whose rules govern over 98% of global trade.”
Over 20 members took the floor to commend Iraq’s progress in reactivating a process that will serve as a platform from which to launch and deepen domestic reforms that can help Iraq attract foreign investment, diversify the economy and improve the business environment, while benefitting members with greater and more predictable access to Iraqi markets and promoting peace and stability. They expressed their shared hope that Iraq will become a full WTO member as soon as reasonably possible.
Iraq also described, and members stressed the importance of, the concrete progress that Iraq has made in preparing a full set of updated negotiation inputs with a view to restarting the formal Working Party process in the near term, including a revised Memorandum of the Foreign Trade Regime (which will be finalized by the end of the year), an updated Legislative Action Plan, other accession documents and initial market access offers on goods and services.