The Accession of Arab Countries to the TRIPS-Agreement:
The Past, the Present and the Future
Mohammed El Said
ABSTRACT: This paper reviews the experience of the Arab Countries’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) with particular focus on these countries accession to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (‘the TRIPS Agreement’) as one of the main pillars of the WTO.1 As explained extensively elsewhere, the accession to the WTO is not confined to the current obligations already undertook by existing member states. Recent case studies show that countries acceding more recently to the WTO have had to pay a ‘bigger price’ for joining the club, through accepting various WTO-Plus obligations to facilitate their accession to the Organization. The case of the Arab World demonstrates this profoundly in the area of intellectual property and the TRIPS Agreement. Based on this narrative, this paper will provide a comparison between the commitments undertaken by those Arab countries which joined the WTO during its first years with those which joined more recently. The paper’s main objective is to provide a view towards assisting potential candidates in their accession efforts based on the experience of their predecessors.