Briefing note: Yemen’s accession to the WTO

Members of the Working Party on the Accession of Yemen agreed on 26 September 2013 the terms of WTO membership for Yemen. At the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, the accession package will be presented to ministers, who are expected to formally approve Yemen's membership. Yemen will have until 2 June 2014 to ratify its accession package.

Updated: November 2013

THIS EXPLANATION 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.

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Yemen’s terms of membership, contained in its Accession Protocol and Working Party Report, include wide-ranging commitments on laws and measures designed to ensure that Yemen’s trade regime conforms with WTO rules. Yemen has also agreed to further open up its markets to goods and services — this includes establishing tariff bindings on goods (i.e. committing not to increase a rate of duty beyond an agreed level) and subsidy limits in agriculture. Yemen originally applied for WTO membership on 12 April 2000.

At the final meeting of the Working Party on 26 September, members congratulated Yemen on its efforts in conducting all the necessary reforms to become a member of the WTO and said they believed that Yemen’s WTO membership would contribute to its economic development. Yemen would become the seventh least-developed country to join the multilateral trading system since 1995. During the accession process, WTO members have worked with Yemen to adapt its trade regime to WTO rules and have trained Yemeni government officials. Members said they would continue to provide Yemen with technical assistance in its post-accession process.


Yemen’s accession commitments

From its date of accession to the WTO, Yemen has pledged to fully apply WTO provisions in the areas of rules of origin, preshipment inspection, anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard measures, export restrictions, subsidies, trade-related investment measures, free zones and preferential trade under bilateral, regional and other agreements.

State enterprises would import or export broadly under commercial terms, and notify their imports and exports to the WTO.

Yemen would apply price control measures in a WTO-consistent manneron trade in goods, agricultural products and services. The list of goods and services subject to state price control would be published in its Official Gazette.

Yemen has pledged to grant companies and individuals the right to legal appeal on government administrative actions covered by WTO rules, including those on trade regulations, subsidies, customs valuation, intellectual property rights and domestic regulation in services.

Yemen would abide by its commitments and respect WTO rules uniformly throughout the country. This would be enforced by the government without the need for recourse to the courts.

Yemen would grant trading rights (right to import and to export) in a non-discriminatory and non-discretionary manner by 31 December 2014.  Any natural or legal person of a WTO member would have the right to import, regardless of physical presence or investment in Yemen.

Yemen would apply other duties and charges at 0.25 per cent and four years from the date of accession would bind them at zero.

Yemen would eliminate and would not apply quantitative restrictions on imports or other non-tariff measures such as licensing, quotas, prohibitions, bans and other restrictions, except for balance of payments purposes, which would follow WTO rules.

By January 2014, Yemen would bring its government fees and charges for services into conformity with WTO agreements. Consularization fees would be terminated no later than 1 January 2017.

Yemen would fully implement the Customs Valuation Agreement by 31 December 2016.

By 1 January 2017, Yemen would eliminate certification and notarization requirements for exports to the country.

Yemen has pledged to fully implementthe Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement(product standards and labelling) and the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement(food safety and animal and plant health) by 31 December 2016.

Yemen would bind its agricultural export subsidies at zero upon accession.

On the protection of intellectual property, Yemen would fully implement the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement by 31 December 2016.

To increase the transparency of its trade regime, Yemen would submit initial notifications as required within six months. All relevant laws, regulations and other measures would be made public in the Official Gazette before they become effective.


Market access for goods

Yemen would apply an average final bound rate (effectively maximum rates) of 21.1 per cent for all products (24.9 per cent on average for agricultural products, and 20.5 per cent for the rest).


Market access for services

Yemen has made specific commitments in all 11 core services sectors, such as business services including accounting/auditing/bookkeeping, architectural, medical/dental, veterinary, computer and related services, R&D services, communication services, including telecommunication services, construction and related engineering services, distribution services, educational and environmental services, financial services (insurance and banking), health services, tourism and travel, recreational, cultural and sporting services, and transport services. These 11 sectors cover 78 sub-sectors.


Next steps

Members have agreed to forward Yemen’s accession package to the 9th Ministerial Conference for adoption by ministers on 3-6 December 2013.
Yemen will have until 2 June 2014 to ratify its accession package. Thirty days after the ratification date, Yemen would become a fully fledged member.


General information about Yemen
(Source: WTO and World Bank — 2012)

  • Income level: Lower middle income
  • Population: 23.85 million
  • GDP (million current US$): 35.65
  • Rank in world trade — goods exports: 96
  • Rank in world trade — goods imports: 89
  • Rank in world trade — services exports: 121
  • Rank in world trade — services imports: 98
  • Merchandise exports, f.o.b. (million US$): 8,600
  • Merchandise imports, c.i.f. (million US$): 12,000
  • Commercial services exports (million US$): 1,013
  • Commercial services imports (million US$): 2,440
  • Main destination of goods exports: China (41.0%), Thailand (19.2%), India (11.4%), Korea, Republic of (4.4%) and Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of (3.5%)
  • Main origin of goods imports: European Union (27%), United Arab Emirates (9.8%), Switzerland (8.8%), China (7.4%) and India (5.8%)
  • Services mostly exported and imported: transportation and travel
  • Life expectancy at birth: 63 years (2011)


Background information about Yemen’s accession process

Yemen applied for WTO membership on 12 April 2000.

The Working Party was established on 17 July 2000.

The chair of the Working Party is Mr Hartmut Röben (Germany).

More information here.