Post_Accession Forum Discusses Benefits Of WTO Membership For Liberia and Afghanistan

Liberia and Afghanistan 163rd and 164th Members of The WTO Respectively
Liberia and Afghanistan 163rd and 164th Members of The WTO Respectively
Photo Credit: WTO

A Post-Accession Forum for Afghanistan and Liberia took place on the margins of UNCTAD 14 on 19 July in Nairobi, Kenya. The Forum, co-organized by the WTO and UNCTAD, congratulated the two least-developed countries on completing their WTO accession negotiations and looked ahead to how the two countries would benefit from WTO membership.

 

The forum provided an opportunity for the two least-developed countries (LDCs) to present their visions and expectations for their WTO membership. The event also heard a pledge from the international community to grant Liberia and Afghanistan post-accession support to help them advance their domestic reforms and their trade and development agenda.

 

In his opening remarks, WTO Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah said: “This Forum is symbolic in many ways, as last December, in this same city and the same venue, the Protocols on the Accession of Liberia and Afghanistan were formally approved by WTO Ministers during the Tenth Ministerial Conference held in the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. As many of you may recall, the decisions on the two LDC accessions provided inspiration and generated positive momentum for the historic outcomes which were achieved at the Nairobi WTO Ministerial Conference.

 

Mr Agah encouraged the international community to help Liberia and Afghanistan implement their post-accession strategies: “I would like to appeal to the international community, including WTO members, to sustain this momentum as you (Liberia and Afghanistan) embark on your post-accession endeavours

 

H.E. Mr Humayoon Rasaw, Minister of Commerce of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and H.E. Mr Axel Addy, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Liberia, highlighted their respective post-accession strategies.

 

Mr Rasaw said: “Afghanistan is committed to maximize the benefits of WTO membership by sustaining modernization and reform of the economy, enhance growth and development, secure stable and non-discriminatory access for Afghan exports, improve our business environment, and integrate into the rules-based global economy. We understand that the continued post-accession support will remain critical in this process.

 

Mr Addy said: “For us, the WTO accession was never an isolated process, but instead tied in with Liberia’s national development plan, the Agenda for Transformation. Hence, our accession is seen as a critical component of our domestic reforms agenda targeted at diversifying our economy, promoting international trade, and encouraging local and foreign investments beyond the traditional extractive industries.

 

The Forum was attended by LDCs currently negotiating their WTO accession, newly-acceded governments and bilateral and multilateral development partners.

 

Liberia became the 163rd WTO member on 14 July and Afghanistan will become the 164th WTO member on 29 July 2016.

 

NOTE: THIS NEWS STORY 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.

Credit to WTO for Story and photos