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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Communist Mongolia Joins WTO

GENEVA -- Formerly communist Mongolia is expected to win admission as a new member of the World Trade Organization this week while ex-Soviet Georgia is applying to come in, diplomats said Wednesday.

Mongolia's entry is almost certain to be approved by the current 122 members of the WTO, launched 18 months ago to replace the old General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, at a meeting Thursday of its General Council, they said.

The Asian state wedged between China and Russia, where the old communist ruling party has just been ousted in an election won by a reformist democratic coalition, applied to join GATT in 1991.

The diplomats said a report from a working party that has been negotiating Mongolia's accession terms was likely to be approved by the General Council, on which all members of the WTO sit.

But the country would be able to take up its seat only once it had deposited its instruments of ratification, a process likely to take several more weeks.

Neither Russia nor China -- whose long-standing bid has been delayed for several years by U.S. and Western European insistence that it provide more access to its markets -- are yet members of the WTO.

Of the other 14 republics of the former communist empire, 10 have also applied: Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Georgia's application bid has just come in, and the diplomats said the Council was expected to agree to set up a working party. But WTO officials said no approach had yet been received from Azerbaijan, Tajikistan or Turkmenistan.