Montenegro and Samoa in world trade club
The World Trade Organization (WTO) seems incapable of bringing its members together in a binding agreement to complete the Doha round of trade talks, and yet countries are still queuing to join.
In September 2003, talks being held in Cancun, Mexico, collapsed in the face of irreconcilable differences between rich and poor countries. In December 2005, another make-or-break WTO meeting failed in Hong Kong.
Director-General Pascal Lamy reported to the WTO General Council on 1 May 2012 that, with regard to the Doha Round, "my conversations over the past few weeks with Ministers and delegations have provided me with a sense that Members wish to continue to explore any opportunities to gain the necessary traction and make tangible progress soon".
So not yet dead, but certainly not about to come to a conclusion any time soon.
Nevertheless, the WTO remains open for business and countries continue to make their way through the long accession process, with the two most recent recruits being Montenegro and Samoa.
They have become respectively the WTO's 154th and 155th member after both informed the WTO that they had accepted their membership package. Under WTO rules, a country becomes a member 30 days after national ratification.
As part of their accession commitments, both have agreed to further liberalise their trade regime and to accelerate integration in the world economy. The countries have also pledged to provide a transparent and predictable environment for trade and foreign investment.
Samoa has promised to fully implement the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement by June 2012.
See the WTO website for details of the accession package agreed by both countries.