WTO: 2014 NEWS ITEMS
Thank you, Mr Chairman. It is a brief report — but an important one.
I am pleased to present the Sixth Annual Report of the Director-General on WTO Accessions.
As in previous years, the report provides information on our operational work on all Accession Working Parties, and on the benefits of Membership including updated figures and analysis on the trade and economic performance of Article XII Members.
This year’s focus is on Post-Accession, which responds to the demand of some new Members, including LDCs, for support focused on the implementation of accession-specific obligations.
Our work on accessions represents a priority for the Organization.
Evidence shows that the results from WTO accessions have strengthened our system, supported domestic reforms and contributed to global growth, development and prosperity.
Accessions have certainly improved commercial opportunities for Members.
Through accessions, the WTO has expanded its world trade coverage from just under 91% in 1995 to approximately 98% in 2013.
This year, demonstrable progress was made. In June, we welcomed Yemen as the 160th Member of the WTO and today we have approved the accession of Seychelles.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate again the Government of Seychelles for its hard work in undertaking the reforms necessary to complete its accession negotiations.
In addition, the Draft Accession Package of Afghanistan has been prepared for review by Members — so as soon as Afghanistan is ready for this stage of the process to move ahead we’ll do it. And Kazakhstan’s accession is poised for conclusion as well, subject to the resolution of a few outstanding questions.
The stage is therefore set for further progress in 2015.
I would like to thank all Members for their contribution, engagement and pragmatism in assisting those Acceding Governments that are ready to cross the finishing line.
In particular, I would like to thank those Members who have provided much-needed technical assistance in this area in 2014, including: Australia; Brazil; China; the European Union and its individual member-states in particular Germany and Sweden; India; New Zealand; Oman; and the United States.
I would also like to thank all Acceding Governments for their sustained commitment to undertake relevant and WTO-consistent domestic reforms.
And finally, I would like to commend the Secretariat team for its work in managing the complexities and sensitivities of WTO accession negotiations.Thank you.