WTO: 2011 NEWS ITEMS

ACCESSIONS

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NOTE:
THIS NEWS STORY is designed to help the public understand developments in the WTO. While every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, it does not prejudice member governments’ positions.

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Samoa’s accession

Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Lauofo said that this accession was a milestone in the island’s development. He added that the accession will be beneficial for Samoa’s economy.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said that Samoa was the 5th least-developed country (LDC) to join the multilateral trading system since 1995. He added that technical assistance and capacity building was crucial to empower countries like Samoa to be in a position to negotiate trade rules. See full statement.

Ministers congratulated Samoa for this considerable achievement. They acknowledged that the accession process was long and challenging for a small LDC island like Samoa.

The commitments undertaken by Samoa are the following.

 

Montenegro’s accession

Montenegro’s Prime Minister Igor Lukšić said that, with this accession, Montenegro will gain visibility in global affairs and global trade. The WTO accession will help Montenegro build a competitive and dynamic economy. He added that WTO membership was the road that would lead to integration into the world economy.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said that the approval of Montenegro’s terms of membership today by the Ministerial Conference was a commendable achievement. He added that, for Montenegro, being part of the multilateral trading system underlined its commitment to transparency, openness and the rule of law. He said that WTO membership was an insurance policy against protectionism and, in turn, indispensable in an uncertain and rapidly changing global political and economic environment.  See full statement.

Ministers warmly welcomed Montenegro in the WTO and congratulated Montenegro for meeting the accession challenges.

The commitments undertaken by Montenegro are the following.

 

Director-General’s statement on Samoa’s accession

Last April, when I met the Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe he promised we would see Samoa in the WTO by the end of the year. At the United Nations Conference on LDCs in May in Istanbul, I promised that the WTO would see two new LDC members by the Ministerial Conference in December. We are here to celebrate this event.

Today we are welcoming another least-developed country to the WTO family. It is the 5th least-developed country to join the multilateral trading system since 1995.

I know that for a small island in the Pacific, the road to the WTO in Geneva is long and winding. But with Samoa and Vanuatu joining this year, you demonstrate that it is possible with patience, perseverance and determination.

In your accession process, we have learnt many lessons.

We have learnt that technical assistance and capacity building is crucial to empower countries like Samoa to be in a position to negotiate trade rules.

We have learnt that there are specificities to small, vulnerable island states that must be taken into account when negotiating trade rules.

We have learnt that the rules governing accessions of least-developed countries can and must be further simplified to help you join the WTO family.

With Samoa joining the WTO, we will have an active partner to lead on all these areas.

Deputy Prime Minister, I count on you and your team to help advance the integration of least-developed countries in the WTO.

Let me in closing thank the Chair of the Working Party, Mr Atsuyuki Oike, and the Secretariat team led by Chiedu Osakwe for their invaluable help in completing this accession. Thanks also to the ITC, led by Patricia Francis, as well as to the WTO technical assistance teams for the support awarded to Samoa. As you know, the WTO is sharply divided into three categories : “friends of football”; “friends of rugby”; and “friends of cricket”. Your arrival is clearly going to help the “friends of rugby”.

Congratulations to the Samoan government and its people for having reached the WTO accession finish line.

Samoa, welcome to the WTO. Taloja lava aficio mai.

 

Director-General’s statement on Montenegro’s accession

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Honourable Prime Minister Igor Lukšić and to the entire membership of the Delegation of Montenegro.  The conclusion of the WTO accession process and the approval of Montenegro’s Terms of Membership today by the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference are commendable achievements.  It is part of the rich harvest in a vintage accession year — “un grand cru”! 

I congratulate you Prime Minister Lukšić for your leadership, and pay special tribute to the Government and the People of Montenegro. Without strong and determined leadership anywhere, progress will not be possible anywhere. 

This strong political leadership was matched by an exceptionally talented technical and “patient” negotiating team led by Minister Kavarić and his Deputy Goran Scepanovic to which Gordana Djurovic contributed ably.

Congratulations for the hard work that has resulted in the successful completion of the process of Montenegro’s WTO accession. 

By any measure, Montenegro’s negotiations required limitless patience!!!  Vital systemic lessons were drawn from this accession. 

As one of the principal benefits, the WTO accession process provides a platform for domestic reforms, which are necessary for all countries to grow, develop and prosper. WTO members design their economic, trade and investment policies within a stable, predictable, and rules-based system. 

For Montenegro, being part of the multilateral trading system underlines its commitment to “transparency, openness and the rule of law”.  WTO membership becomes an insurance policy against protectionism and, in turn, is indispensable in an uncertain and rapidly changing global political and economic environment. 

As with the accession of Vanuatu, approved in October by the General Council, the Russian Federation accession approved yesterday, and Samoa accession approved just before the lunch break, the accession of Montenegro is timely. 

They represent a vote of confidence in the Organization and the multilateral trading system. 

They send a strong, clear message that the WTO advances with its regular work, including on accessions, and the WTO membership is beneficially enlarged. I hope Montenegro’s accession is a good omen for more Balkan countries to join the WTO starting in 2012.

To the Government and People of Montenegro, I say: Welcome to the WTO.  Thank you.

 

 Jargon buster 

• accession

• binding

• sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS)

• technical barriers to trade (TBT)

• working party (accession)

• working party report (accession)

> More jargon: glossary

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