Thursday, December 10, 2015

Map: Kazakhstan Joins WTO

Premium members click here to view this article in the ad-free members area. Not a member yet? Learn about our subscription service!

Map of World Trade Organization (WTO) member and observer countries, updated for December 2015 to include new member Kazakhstan
Member and observer states of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Map by Evan Centanni, starting from public domain blank map (license: CC BY-NC-SA).
Additional reporting by Caleb Centanni

Kazakhstan Joins WTO
On November 30, Kazakhstan officially became the 162nd member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a global body founded in 1995 to promote the management and expansion of international trade. Kazakhstan was accepted by the organization in July, and membership was ratified by the Kazakh parliament on October 31 (membership takes effect 30 days after ratification). Kazakhstan is the second country to join the WTO in 2015, after Seychelles became a member in April.

More: All PolGeoNow articles on WTO admissions since 2011

Logo of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Organization Name:  
• World Trade Organization (English)
• Organisation mondiale du commerce (French)
• OrganizaciĆ³n Mundial del Comercio (Spanish)
Founded: 1994 in Marrakech, Morocco (commenced in 1995)
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Kazakhstan is a landlocked former Soviet republic located mainly in Central Asia, though a small part of it is technically in Europe (depending on your definition). It's the ninth-largest country in the world by area, and the biggest economic power in the Central Asia region, where several of the world's few remaining non-WTO countries are located. Kazakhstan's admission to the WTO comes after almost 20 years of negotiation and various economic reforms that made it more friendly to international business.

Of the 195 UN-recognized countries in the world, 158 (about 81%) are members of the WTO. Another four members are not UN-recognized nations: the China-administered territories of Hong Kong and Macau, the European Union, and the disputed state of Taiwan, which participates under the name “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei)”.
There are also 22 WTO “observers”, down from 23 now that Kazakhstan has become a full member. These observer countries are partially included in the organization, and have all applied for membership (except the Holy See administration of Vatican City, which does not plan to). There are only 15 UN-recognized countries that are neither members nor observers of the WTO.

WTO logo is displayed without permission, based on fair use principles (source).