Saudi Arabia completes twelve-year quest to join WTO and commits to further liberalisation

12 Dec 2005

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia formally joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) yesterday, becoming its 149th member, and reiterated its commitment to further liberalise its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy, while offering a clear and transparent trading environment for foreign investors in accordance with WTO rules. The Saudis have been negotiating membership of the WTO since July 1993 and have introduced new laws to facilitate competition in the telecoms sector as part of the talks. The government approved the opening up of the telecoms sector to competition in September 2002 and the process got under way in July 2003 with the award of four VSAT licences to DeTeCon al Saudia, Al Harbi Telecom, Saudi Inteltec and High Capabilities Technologies. In March 2005 the newly created independent regulatory body, the Communications and IT Commission (CITC), said that burgeoning public demand meant a second fixed line operator could be licensed as soon as late 2006, two years ahead of the previously announced date.

Saudi Arabia