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Iraq set to observe WTO

World Trade Organisation gives Iraq observer status, but leaves Iran out in the cold.

Iraq is set to spend the next five years learning the rules and practices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after the former Baathist state was granted observer status.

The move came yesterday (Feb 12) during a meeting held at WTO headquarters in Geneva.

“This is a good day for Iraq and it gives me great pleasure to come here today to thank you on behalf of the government and people of Iraq for accepting our request for observer status at the WTO,” Ahmed Al Mukhtar, senior trade official at Iraq’s Governing Council told news agency AFP after the meeting.

“The observer status will give us the opportunity to learn first of all and be part of the international community,” he added.

Iraq’s application was fully backed by the 146-member organisation, including the United States, China and several EU nations.

However, according to reports, Iraq’s Arab neighbours did not express an opinion.

Observer status enables nations to get accustomed to the WTO’s methods, while not obligating them to fulfil its requirements.

Once the five-year period is ever, countries can apply for membership, although the process to become a fully-fledged member can take years.

Meanwhile, one country that will not be joining the WTO is Iran. Although several nations, including the European openly supported the Iranian campaign, the US vetoed the move, claiming that it was still reviewing the situation.

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