The working party held its first meeting on 2 December 2016 under the chairmanship of Ambassador Chávez Basagoitia of Peru. At this meeting, it started to examine the country's foreign trade regime and its regulatory framework. The chair and members of the working party commended the Comoros for providing extensive documentation, which served as the basis of the discussions.
The delegation of the Comoros was led by the country's Vice-President, Mr Djaffar Ahmed Said Hassani, who said: “The government is firmly convinced that trade is an irreplaceable tool to put the country on the path of economic growth.” He added: “By acceding to the WTO and by undertaking the required commitments, the Union of the Comoros will have the opportunity to modernise its administration and the economic and trade related legislation. This modernization will establish an enabling environment for business and investment.”
In his opening remarks, the chair said: “Achieving accession by MC11 is an ambitious but achievable target. We should all applaud the Comoros for demonstrating a high level of commitment and enthusiasm for WTO membership.” He added that it is very “encouraging” to see that the Comoros has decided to rise to the “accession challenge” with energy and determination.
The Comoros delegation said that it had held bilateral meetings with interested members on the margins of the working party meeting. It also said that these meetings had produced positive outcomes and that clarifications had been provided on a number of issues raised by WTO members at the working party meeting.
Comoros is a least-developed country in the Indian Ocean, with a population of approximately 750,000. The Government of the Comoros applied for accession to the WTO in February 2007, and the working party was established in October 2007. In October 2013, the country submitted its Memorandum on its Foreign Trade Regime, which was circulated to members. Following a technical exchange with the WTO Secretariat, negotiating inputs were submitted in September 2016 and were circulated to the working party in October 2016.