Saudi Arabia becomes 149th member of WTO

Saudi Arabia officially joined the World Trade Organization on Sunday, becoming the world trade body's 149th member, the WTO said on its Web site. The Arab nation's accession comes two days before the WTO holds a summit here, where trade negotiators will strive to make progress toward a treaty to lower global trade barriers. Talks before the meeting have reached a stalemate over agricultural trade. Saudi Arabia was approved for membership in the WTO, which sets global trade rules, after concluding bilateral market access negotiations with all interested WTO members, the organization's Web site said. Saudi Arabia is the world's 13th largest merchandise exporter and the 23rd largest importer.