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.



Out of the original 48 least-developed countries (LDCs) on the United Nations list, 34 are WTO members. Out of the nine LDCs that have negotiated their membership terms since 1995, two accession packages (for Afghanistan and Liberia) were finalized in 2015 and will be presented to the Nairobi Ministerial Conference for formal adoption. Six more LDCs are negotiating to join the WTO. They are Bhutan, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Sao Tomé & Principe, and Sudan.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said:
“I commend the leadership of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, under which the Government of Afghanistan has worked very hard to close this negotiating chapter. This is really positive news for Afghanistan and the WTO. WTO membership will help to create new trading opportunities and boost economic development. I praise WTO members for promoting the integration of another LDC into the rules-based multilateral trading system and I look forward to formally welcoming Afghanistan to the organization at our Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.”

Dr Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, said:
“I am delighted that WTO members today — November 11 — voted in favour of the Accession Package of Afghanistan.  This is a significant and historic step forward as Afghanistan seeks to build a modern economy. Our country's accession to the WTO will serve as a catalyst for domestic reforms and transformation to an effective and functioning market economy that attracts investment, creates jobs and improves the welfare of the people of Afghanistan.  I praise WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo for his support for Afghanistan and for his leadership of the World Trade Organization.”
Working Party Chairperson H.E. Roderick van Schreven (The Netherlands) said:
“This is a tribute to both the multilateral trading system and the Government of Afghanistan.  The conclusion of this least-developed country's accession is a critical win-win for LDCs and the WTO.  I know from speaking with members that the conclusion of the accession of Afghanistan shall be one of the highlights of the work of the WTO in 2015.  As WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo recently said, WTO members must be united in working hard to deliver for countries like Afghanistan and Liberia that are most in need of our support in the accession process and post accession.”

Find out more about Afghanistan’s WTO accession negotiations.

Learn how to how to become a member of the WTO here.

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