Director-General Roberto Azevêdo welcomed the decision of the Working Party. “I am honoured to close my first accession chapter as the new WTO Director-General,” said Mr Azevêdo. “The accession of Yemen will further the universal nature of the multilateral trading system. I am sure that integration into the global trading system will help spur Yemen’s economic growth and promote further social development.”
While negotiating the terms took some time, the Director-General quoted a Yemeni proverb to illustrate the importance of ensuring the right legal framework for the accession.
“Setting the conditions before you make an agreement is better than having an argument once the deal has been done,” said Mr Azevêdo.
In the 11th meeting of the Working Party, WTO members concluded 13 years of negotiations. Yemen’s terms of membership, contained within its accession package, include reforms to Yemen’s trade laws, commitments on market access for goods and services, a draft decision for adoption by the General Council, and Yemen’s draft Protocol of Accession.
Yemeni Minister of Industry and Trade H.E. Dr Saadaldeen Talib said: “Although Yemen accession has taken more than a decade to achieve, this is not to say that Yemen has reached the finishing line, but rather a new starting point for integration into the multilateral training system, global economy and most significantly a better future for the New Yemen.”
The Chairman of the Working Party, Mr Hartmut Röben stated: “It gives me great pleasure to note that the Working Party on the Accession of Yemen has accomplished its task successfully. Accession to the WTO is a long and arduous process, which requires difficult policy decisions. This is a tribute to both the Multilateral Trading System and the Government of Yemen.”
Yemen would become the seventh least-developed country to join the multilateral trading system since 1995. During the accession process, WTO members have worked with Yemen to adapt its trade laws to WTO rules and have trained its government officials. Members said they would continue to provide Yemen with required technical assistance in its post-accession process.
Market opening for goods and services
Yemen has signed bilateral agreements on market access for goods and services with Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, El Salvador, Honduras, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Ukraine and the United States.
For goods, Yemen has committed to bind its tariffs to an average of 21.1 per cent for all products — 24.9 per cent on average for agricultural products and 20.5 per cent for other products.
In services, Yemen is committed to opening its markets to 11 sectors, covering 78 sub-sectors.
Overview of Yemen’s commitments
Yemen has made commitments in customs valuation, price controls, state enterprises, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and other areas.
Yemen’s accession package will be presented to the Ministerial Conference on 3-6 December 2013 in Bali for formal adoption by ministers.
The final step before Yemen becomes a member of the WTO would be the ratification of the accession package by the Yemeni Parliament.
Thirty days after the ratification date, Yemen would become a fully fledged WTO member.
- Previous Working Party meeting: 23 July 2012
- Working Party Chairperson: Mr Hartmut Röben (Germany)
- Application received: 12 April 2000
- Working Party established: 17 July 2000
- Working Party Secretary: Mr Dayong Yu
- Working Party Co-Secretary: Ms Nadia Ferdi Demierre
- Director of the Accessions Division: Mr Chiedu Osakwe