WTO NEWS: SPEECHES — DG ROBERTO AZEVÊDO


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President Kenyatta,
Vice Minister Wang Shouwen,
Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Jambo!

Good morning, and welcome to this special event looking at WTO accessions and the multilateral trading system.

It's an honour to have President Kenyatta with us this morning.

I would like to thank the Government of Kenya for hosting this Fourth China Round Table here in Nairobi.

This event is part of China’s LDCs and Accessions Programme, which was established by the Government of China in 2011.

The programme is aimed at assisting LDCs in their accession processes, as well as strengthening their participation in the WTO.

Since this programme was established, I think it has made a big contribution to WTO accessions, and thereby to strengthening the diversity of our membership.  

Supporting LDCs to reap the benefits of trade is a high priority for our work in the WTO.

So, on behalf of WTO members, I would like to convey our sincere appreciation to the Government of China for this valuable support.

It is a particular pleasure to be able to address this important event on the eve of the WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference which we will be opening here tomorrow. The issues we are talking about here today will be at the heart of our agenda during the coming days.

Since 1995, seven LDCs have joined the organization. And we expect that two more will join this week, as ministers are asked to approve the membership of Afghanistan and Liberia. 

That will bring the number of LDCs in the WTO to 36 — more than a fifth of our membership. The LDCs are a very significant constituency within the WTO — and one that is increasingly making its voice heard.

We put a lot of focus on LDCs joining the organization, but of course it is only a means to an end. The hard work continues after the process of accession is complete.

This is what we are focusing on here today — how we can better support LDCs after their accessions are complete.

I am sure that we will hear some real insights on how the multilateral trading system can work better to boost growth and development for Africa and for the LDCs.

So let me extend my appreciation once again to the organizers of this Round Table, to our hosts, and to China for making this event possible.

I wish you a very productive session.

Asante sana — thank you very much.

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