Saudi Arabia today completed a bilateral market access agreement with the United States, which allows the Kingdom to proceed with a bid for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. is the last WTO member to formally conclude agreements with Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom will now work with WTO members to finalize multilateral negotiations.
“This agreement is an important step towards Saudi Arabia accession to the WTO and it will enhance its position to continue modernization and diversification of its economy,” remarked Minister of Commerce and Industry Hashim Al-Yamani. “During the last decade Saudi Arabia has reformed its laws and regulations to increase transparency, decrease barriers to trade and protect intellectual property. We look forward to contributing to a greater extent to the global economy.”
Accession to the WTO will help promote diversity in Saudi Arabia’s growing economy and open employment opportunities for the Kingdom’s youth. In addition, membership will encourage foreign investment.
Accession to the WTO will benefit U.S. manufacturing and services industries, agriculture and American workers by providing increased access to the Kingdom’s growing markets.
Saudi Arabia first applied to join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, which became the WTO) in 1993.