Saudi Arabia agrees with the US on joining the WTO

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

The current members of the WTO

Saudi Arabia signed on Friday a trade agreement with the United States, which was considered to be one the last major hurdles to the World Trade Organisation membership of the kingdom. Now, Saudis have to complete negotiations at the Geneva-based WTO on the formal accession document.

The deal opens Saudi markets to US farm and manufactured goods, as well as most services, including IT, financial, energy and tourism sectors. It also forced Saudis not to boycott US companies which are doing business with Israel.

The kingdom also promised to have normal trade relations with all 148 WTO members, which include Israel.

The other problem remains a Saudi-EU row over gas prices. The EU officials accused Saudi Arabia of selling the natural gas to their home petrochemicals at rates below international market prices, which could cause losses to the European producers.

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