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.



WTO Deputy Director-General David Shark and China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr Shouwen Wang, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the event, extending the China Programme for another year. Established in 2011, the programme aims to strengthen the participation of LDCs in WTO trade negotiations and to assist LDCs in joining the WTO.

The Fifth China Round Table — held under the theme of “Best Practices on the Accession of Least-Developed Countries” — was opened by Prime Minister Hun Sen, Vice Minister Wang and DDG  Shark. The opening ceremony was attended by over 300 participants. Representatives from 14 LDC members and observers were present, including eight ministers.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said: “The current obligation for us all, as LDCs, is to do whatever it takes to achieve successful negotiations in the WTO Eleventh Ministerial Conference, to be held on 11-14 December 2017, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The outcomes must serve the interests of all LDCs, including the countries currently negotiating their WTO accession”. He also called on all WTO members to support the accession processes of LDCs. His full speech is here. Cambodia assumed the coordination of the WTO’s LDC Group last month. 

Praising the Government of China for having renewed the China Programme for the fifth time, DDG Shark said: “This is a testimony of China’s commitment to the values and contributions of WTO accession, as evident in its impressive economic growth after its accession to the Organization fifteen years ago. Enhanced integration of LDCs into the multilateral trading system is an institutional priority. Last year, we welcomed Liberia and Afghanistan into the WTO family, following the conclusion of their accessions at the last Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015. The accession of these two LDCs has sent a powerful signal to the international community about the ability of the WTO to deliver results and to respond to the needs of post-conflict LDCs.” His full speech is here.

Vice Minister Wang said: “As WTO members, we must continue to reiterate our strong commitment to the multilateral trading system. In the context of sluggish global trade growth and inward-looking trade policies by some major players, we should stick firmly to multilateralism and uphold the primacy of the WTO in trade liberalization. We must redouble our efforts to achieve positive outcomes at MC11.” His full speech is here.

The China Programme supports and finances activities under five pillars:

  • an accession internship programme at the WTO
  • annual round tables on WTO accessions
  • LDCs’ participation in WTO meetings
  • South-South dialogue on LDCs and development
  • LDCs’ Trade Policy Review follow-up workshops.

More information can be found here.

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