According to the World Trade Organization?s website, ?Any state or
customs territory having full autonomy in the conduct of its trade
policies may join (?accede to?) the WTO.? (?Membership, alliances and
bureaucracy,? WTO: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/org3_e.htm#join
) However, all applying nations must agree on terms.
Here is the process for becoming a member:
1. The government applying to WTO must first describe to WTO ?all
aspects of its trade and economic policies that have a bearing on WTO
2. Next, bilateral talks begin between WTO and the country in question
take place. ?These talks cover tariff rates and specific market access
commitments, and other policies in goods and services...the talks
determine the benefits (in the form of export opportunities and
guarantees) other WTO members can expect when the new member joins.?
3. ?Once the...examination of the applicant?s trade regime, and the
parallel bilateral market access negotiations are complete,? WTO
finalizes the terms of membership.
4. Finally, a report is produced by WTO, which includes a protocol,
and lists of commitments for the applying nation. This is ?presented
to the WTO General Council or the Ministerial Conference. If a
two-thirds majority of WTO members vote in favour, the applicant is
free to sign the protocol and to accede to the organization. In many
cases, the country?s own parliament or legislature has to ratify the
agreement before membership is complete.?
For a thorough run down of the membership (or ?accession?) process,
please see ?How to become a member of the WTO,? WTO:
For a discussion of WTO?s provisions about new members, see ?Relevant
WTO Provisions,? WTO:
To view a WTO video on becoming a member, see:
Finally, this WTO page with links about accessions may prove helpful:
A search of the World Trade Organization?s website