Maximising the benefits of WTO membership: a balance of rights and obligations
WTO Membership of Afghanistan and Liberia
Date: 19 July 2016
> News item: DG Azevêdo welcomes Afghanistan as 164th WTO member
> News item: DG Azevêdo welcomes Liberia as 163rd WTO member
Ministers at the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10) in December 2015 in Nairobi formally approved the Protocols on the Accession of Afghanistan and Liberia. They welcomed the two LDCs as the latest additions to the WTO family. Nairobi was indeed a historic milestone for Afghanistan and Liberia, following their successful negotiations of the terms of accessions with WTO Members under challenging circumstances and capacity constraints.
WTO Members have welcomed the Accession Packages of Afghanistan and Liberia as high quality, and praised the process and drive of these two LDCs as good examples on how to expedite WTO accession negotiations. In substance, the Accession Packages signal their firm commitments to use the WTO membership to sustain their reform agenda for economic transformation, enhanced competitiveness, improvements to their business environment and sustained integration to the rules-based global economy.
In the process of their accession, the Governments of Afghanistan and Liberia welcomed the support provided by bilateral development partners, multilateral and regional institutions. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo in formally initiating WTO Post-Accession in his 2014 Annual Report on Accessions underscored that support shall remain even more critical in the immediate period following membership. Strong partnership and coordination between Article XII LDCs and the international community will need to be sustained, including through an agreed follow-up mechanism. This Post-Accession support has been critical in ensuring that Afghanistan and Liberia maximise the benefits of WTO membership.
WTO/UNCTAD Post-accession Forum
Seven months after the MC10, the international trade community gathered, again in Nairobi, for the UNCTAD14 on 19 July 2016. Nairobi sustained the momentum in the trade and development agenda for Afghanistan and Liberia, this time, for their WTO membership in a Post-Accession Forum under the leadership of UNCTAD.
The Nairobi Post-Accession Forum provided a platform for an exchange on the following topics:
- Post-Accession Implementation Strategy — Maximising the Benefits of WTO Membership: Presentations by Afghanistan and Liberia;
- Best practices on post-accession (e.g. institutional framework, coordination, notifications)
- Post-Accession support for Afghanistan and Liberia by development partners and multilateral institutions; and,
- Partnership and coordination mechanisms for Post-Accession.
8:00 – 8:10: Opening Keynote Remarks — "Maximising the Benefits of WTO Membership: Best Practices on Post-Accession — Lessons Learned from 36 Completed Accessions"
- Frederick Yonov Agah, WTO Deputy Director-General
8:10 – 8:30: Post-Accession Implementation Strategy – Maximising the Benefits of WTO Membership
H.E. Mr. Humayoon Rasaw, Minister of Commerce of Industries, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
H.E. Mr. Axel Addy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Republic of Liberia
8:30 — 8:50 Post-Accession support and partnership
Arancha González, Executive Director, International Trade Centre
Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Executive Secretariat of the Enhanced Integrated Framework
Interventions by other multilateral institutions and bilateral partners
8:50 — 9:00 Conclusion and Way Forward
- Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary General and Former Chairman of the Working Party on the Accession of the Republic of Liberia
9:00 — Reception for participants
Sponsored by the EIF Secretariat