75. The Chairman recalled that the General Council, in July 1996, had adopted procedures for observer status for international intergovernmental organizations in the WTO (Annex 3 of document WT/L/161). According to these procedures, requests for observer status would be considered on a case-by-case basis by each WTO body to which a request had been addressed, taking into account such criteria as the nature of the work of the organization concerned, the nature of its membership, the number of WTO Members in the organization, reciprocity with respect to access to proceedings, documents and other aspects of observership, and whether the organization had been involved in the past with the work of the GATT. After consultations on how to apply these procedures, the General Council, at its meeting of 7 February 1997, had noted that the IMF and the World Bank had been given observer status in the General Council and other WTO bodies as provided for in the Agreements between the WTO and these two institutions. With regard to other international intergovernmental organizations, the General Council had agreed: (a) that the organizations which already had observer status in the General Council on an ad hoc basis be granted observer status immediately; (b) that for international intergovernmental organizations whose requests had not yet been considered the Chairman would conduct consultations; (c) to invite the other WTO bodies to proceed in a similar way.
76. The Chairman referred to document IP/C/W/52, which listed the intergovernmental organizations that had sought observer status in the TRIPS Council, dividing them into two categories: first, those which already had observer status on an ad hoc basis; and, second, those whose requests were pending. He suggested that the Council grant regular observer status to the organizations in the first category, those that the Council had invited to its meetings in 1995 and 1996 on an ad hoc basis, and to do so on the basis that there would be reciprocity with respect to proceedings, documents and other aspects of observership.