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Accession to the World Trade Organization

A Legal Analysis Dylan Geraets, Associate, Mayer Brown, Brussels and Associate Fellow, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium
This detailed and perceptive book examines the extent and scope of how rules for accession to the WTO may vary between countries, approaching the concerns that some countries enter with a better deal than others. Dylan Geraets critiques these additional ‘rules’ and aims to answer the question of whether new Members of the WTO are under stricter rules than the original Members, whilst analysing the accession process to the multilateral trading system.
Extent: c 360 pp
Hardback Price: $150.00 Web: $135.00
Publication Date: February 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78811 258 1
Availability: Not yet published
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  • Law - Academic
  • International Economic Law, Trade Law
  • Law - Professional
  • International Economic Law, Trade Law
This detailed and perceptive book examines the extent and scope of how rules for accession to the WTO may vary between countries, approaching the concerns that some countries enter with a better deal than others. Dylan Geraets critiques these additional ‘rules’ and aims to answer the question of whether new Members of the WTO are under stricter rules than the original Members, whilst analysing the accession process to the multilateral trading system.

Taking an integrated approach, the author combines the results of a Mapping Exercise of all 36 Protocols of accession with a legal analysis of the decisions by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body involving Protocols of Accession. In doing so, this book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the issue of Member-specific ‘WTO-Plus’ commitments in Protocols of Accession. Whilst addressing the institutional and historical aspects of the WTO accession process, it provides a vital update to the existing scholarship on WTO accession, offering coverage of all accessions including those of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Liberia.

Accession to the World Trade Organization will be invaluable reading for academics interested in WTO accession practice, as well as lawyers, practitioners and government officials in the field of WTO accession.

‘Close to one in four WTO members acceded to the WTO after its establishment in 1995. What is the legal status of their “entry fee” commitments? What WTO-plus and/or -minus rules can be found in the 36 Accession Protocols to date? Is the WTO veering toward a multi-tiered membership? This book is the first in-depth legal analysis of WTO accession rules and jurisprudence. An indispensable guide to understanding the role of “newcomers” such as China and Russia in the world trading system.’
– Joost Pauwelyn, Georgetown University Law Centre, US

‘This is a long overdue analysis: how is one to classify and then interpret the widely different obligations found in the Accession Protocols of new members. Dylan Geraets does an admirable job in navigating these underexposed yet noteworthy new rules in the WTO system. With this book he has made his mark.’
– Marco Bronckers, Leiden University, the Netherlands
Contents: Part I: Accession to the Multilateral Trading System 1. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1947 (GATT 1947) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) – Why Join the Club? 2. Membership of the GATT 1947 and the WTO 3. The Scope of the Multilateral Trading System Part II: The Status of Protocols of Accession in the legal framework of the WTO 4. The Status of Protocols of Accession in the Legal Framework of the WTO Part III: Mapping Exercise: The Content of Protocols of Accession 5. Methodology and Typology – Commitments on Specific Matters 6. Mapping Exercise – The Results Part IV: Conclusion 7. Concluding Remarks Selected Bibliography Index