After 15 years since Laos applied to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), membership negotiations with Laos finally concluded last week, according to a news report from Bangkok, Thailand. WTO accession is set to be confirmed by the 157-member trade body at its meeting on October 26. The Laotian parliament is expected to ratify membership by the end of the year. Laos is one of  Southeast Asia’s poorest nations and the only one in that region yet to join the WTO. Laos’ economic growth has been more than 7 percent a year over the past decade. Entry into the WTO brings with it the promise of increased trade volume, and new trade partners for Laos, as well as the prospect of new investment into the country, analysts said. Laos has 6 million people, most of whom depend on subsistence farming.