WTO launches new study

Published : 25 May 2022 08:12 PM

A Study report, launched by the WTO on May 24, explores the impact of WTO accession on least-developed countries (LDCs) and the best practices established for LDC accessions based on the experience of the nine countries that have joined the WTO as LDCs. 

The study traces the evolution of the WTO approach to LDC accessions and outlines the various steps in the accession process, according to a WTO handout, received on Wednesday.

The report titled " Accessories of Least-developed Countries to the WTO-Challenges and Opportunities" summarizes the commitments undertaken by the nine LDCs who have acceded to the WTO under Article XII of the Marrakesh Agreement

It also looks into the challenges and opportunities for LDCs regarding WTO membership, including the importance of participating in WTO activities. The paper also briefly examines the economic performance of recently acceded LDC members to see how they have fared since joining the WTO.

The authors of the study do not assert direct causality between WTO membership and economic and policy outcomes, as many diverse influences are at work. The paper includes some suggestions and recommendations for those LDCs who are currently negotiating their WTO accessions or contemplating doing so.

“This report is not only timely. It is an illustration of our commitment to support LDC accessions through capacity-building and technical assistance. Nine LDCs joined the WTO after successfully concluding accession negotiations and eight more are still in the accession process. Despite the economic fallouts from the COVID-19 pandemic and other pressing challenges, LDCs have demonstrated remarkable capacity to remain focused to achieve their accession goals,” said WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“Timor-Leste and Comoros, in particular, have maintained their accession momentum and are now advancing negotiations towards conclusion at full speed. The Working Party on the accession of Timor-Leste held its third meeting on April 29 this year while that of Comoros had its seventh meeting on May 19 .

It is our hope that this study, which provides best practices and lessons learned from the nine LDC accessions, concluded to date, can help equip future LDC members to realise membership benefits,” she added.

The paper was prepared in connection with the 10th China Roundtable,  held virtually on 18-20 January 2022. 

China's Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) and Accessions Programme (the China Programme) was established on 14 July 2011 with the aim of strengthening the participation of LDCs in the WTO and assisting them in their WTO accession processes.