Commending the satisfactory implementation of the China Programme in its first year, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy and China’s Ambassador to the WTO Yi Xiaozhun signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) on 5 July 2012 extending the “China’s LDCs and Accessions Programme” (The China Programme) for another year.
The China Programme, initiated in July 2011 under the WTO Aid for Trade Initiative, aims at strengthening LDCs’ participation in WTO activities and helping those not yet members to join the Organization.
“The activities carried out under the China Programme have contributed to the advancement of the shared priorities of the WTO Membership to support the world poorest countries, specifically in the area of WTO accession,” said Director-General Lamy. “In 2011, Samoa and Vanuatu completed their accession processes; and Samoa is now a WTO Member. This year two more LDCs — Yemen and Laos — are in the final stage of their negotiations. We look forward to further deepening the partnership with China in supporting those in most need or still outside of the organization.”
The China Programme supports and finance activities under three pillars: (i) WTO Accessions Internship; (ii) a WTO Accession Round Table Meetings; and (iii) LDCs’ participation in selected meetings which they identify as their priorities.
During the first year of the implementation, two interns have been involved in the work of the Accessions Division, as well as thematic research projects (see more information).
Under the second pillar, a High Level Round Table on Accession Best Practices for LDCs was held in Beijing from 29 May to 1 June 2012 (the programme and other information).
“Initial expectations have been exceeded,” said Ambassador Yi in renewing the China Programme. “The Programme has contributed to increased familiarization by LDCs with the accession process and WTO rules and operating procedures, thereby facilitating their WTO membership and participation”. He added: “China looks forward to continuing its fruitful co-operation with the Secretariat for the benefit of LDCs, as part of China's consistent support for the WTO's Aid for Trade Initiative.”