The Handbook, first published in 2008, provides a detailed explanation and analysis of the process whereby governments become Members of the WTO. The WTO Agreement, which came into force on 1 January, 1995, provides few details on how this process is to take place. Consequently, the steps in the detailed negotiations leading up to access have evolved through the actual negotiations for governments which have become Members of the WTO since 1995. This handbook provides an account of how the process evolved and in offering details on the process as it is now applied. Moreover, the input of the WTO Secretariat into the preparation of the guide provides information not available until now to anyone outside the Secretariat. The Secretariat has supported production of this handbook in the hope it will serve as a useful source of reference for officials from acceding governments, WTO Members, academia, and the general public.
'The accession process is important for many reasons and yet it is among the least studied and understood parts of the trading system. Thus, the WTO Secretariat is to be commended for sponsoring this project and enlisting Mr Williams to write The Handbook on Accession to the WTO. The Handbook will be especially useful for government officials and the private sector of applicant countries who need to understand the arcane accession process. The Handbook will also help to stimulate new scholarship on accession. Journal of World Trade Review