WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

2 October 2000

Lithuania completes membership negotiations

The WTO Working Party on the Accession of Lithuania, on 2 October 2000, approved the country's membership documents, which now go to the General Council for final approval at its 7-8 December 2000 meeting.

Director-General Mike Moore said Lithuania's forthcoming full participation in the WTO “should help buttress the country's impressive reform programme and bring further tangible economic benefits to her citizens”.

Lithuania has committed itself to the ratification of the WTO accession instruments by 1 May 2001. It would become a member 30 days after notifying the WTO of ratification.

At the Working Party meeting, Lithuania's Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister Algimantas Rimkunas expressed delight at the completion of the negotiations. He said that the goal of WTO membership and compliance with its requirements had provided “a solid anchor for (Lithuania's) economic reform”. “Now our legislation conforms with the WTO requirements and provides for transparency and predictability”, he added.

The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic said that although they have not yet completed their bilateral negotiations with Lithuania they could join in the consensus to approve the membership documents.

Agriculture was a major issue during the negotiations. Lithuania is now committed to a reduction of 20 percent over five years of domestic subsidies that are subject to disciplines under the WTO agreement on agriculture. It also pledged to eliminate agricultural export subsidies upon accession.