Working party meetings for two least developed country candidates for World Trade Organization (WTO) membership will be held in the coming weeks and accession activities have been reactivated for two other candidates seeking to join the organisation.
The accession working party for the Comoros will be convened for 14 September while Timor-Leste is scheduled to hold its first accession meeting with WTO members on 01 October. Ethiopia and Uzbekistan, which relaunched earlier this year their respective working parties after prolonged periods of inactivity, are actively preparing for follow-up meetings in the coming months. These four countries are among 23 that are in the process of accession.
“WTO accessions have been a success story of the organisation, expanding the reach of WTO rules to 98% of world trade and bringing the total number of members to 164,” said WTO Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff. “Despite the pandemic crisis, many acceding governments remain active and are regularly in touch with members and the Secretariat to advance technical work.”
DDG Wolff explained that the WTO Secretariat was actively supporting acceding governments through technical assistance and outreach activities, which were now being offered in virtual formats. Building on the success of the Accessions Week held in June, which was attended by over 800 participants, the Secretariat plans to organise activities on accession-related agriculture negotiations, accessions from the Arab region (jointly with the Arab Monetary Fund), Trade for Peace through WTO Accession (with partner institutions), and 25 years of achievements in WTO accessions.
Story by: Riaan de Lange