The Round Table, which coincides with the 19th and 15th WTO accession anniversary of China and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia respectively, is organized by the WTO within the framework of China's LDCs and Accessions Programme with the aim of facilitating discussions on WTO accessions as well as increasing participation of least-developed countries (LDCs) and developing countries, especially of acceding governments, in the work of the WTO.
This ninth edition will kick-off with opening remarks by WTO Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff, China's Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen, and Kazakhstan's Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov. Two panel discussions will follow.
The first panel will reflect on and discuss lessons learned over 25 years of WTO accessions and will address the systemic relevance of the accession process and WTO membership. It will also provide an opportunity to mark and look back at the accessions of Croatia (20 years), China (19 years), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (15 years) and Kazahkstan (five years).
The second session will examine the prospects of achieving universality for WTO membership. The discussion will focus, in particular, on what more can be done to assist the most vulnerable countries seeking WTO accession and on the role of the WTO's Guidelines on the Accession of LDCs. The session will investigate how the prospect of WTO accession could be maximized at a time of uncertainty in the WTO and globally. This discussion will seek to examine the role of Working Party chairs and the WTO Secretariat, the use of innovative technical assistance tools and novel work formats, as well as the potential for collaboration with other international institutions.
To date, eight Round Tables have been hosted in three continents. Past editions have provided a forum for experience sharing on best practices on WTO accession and post-accession, and for exploring how WTO accessions could strengthen the multilateral trading system.
The full Ninth China Round Table on WTO Accessions programme is available here.
The event is open to the public and will be livestreamed on the WTO website and YouTube.