WTO members negotiating Afghanistan’s accession agreed by consensus, and referendum, on the terms of the country’s WTO membership on 11 November 2015, paving the way for the ninth least-developed country to join the organization since 1995.
Afghanistan’s Accession Package will be submitted to ministers for a formal decision at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi on 15-18 December, says the inter-governmental organization which regulates international trade.
“I commend the leadership of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, under which the Government of Afghanistan has worked very hard to close this negotiating chapter. This is really positive news for Afghanistan and the WTO. WTO membership will help to create new trading opportunities and boost economic development. I praise WTO members for promoting the integration of another LDC into the rules-based multilateral trading system and I look forward to formally welcoming Afghanistan to the organization at our Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo is quoted as saying.
The organization quotes President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani as being delighted for the historic step towards the modern economy of the country.
“I am delighted that WTO members today — November 11 — voted in favour of the Accession Package of Afghanistan. This is a significant and historic step forward as Afghanistan seeks to build a modern economy. Our country’s accession to the WTO will serve as a catalyst for domestic reforms and transformation to an effective and functioning market economy that attracts investment, creates jobs and improves the welfare of the people of Afghanistan. I praise WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo for his support for Afghanistan and for his leadership of the World Trade Organization.”
Out of the original 48 least-developed countries (LDCs) on the United Nations list, 34 are WTO members.
Out of the nine LDCs that have negotiated their membership terms since 1995, two accession packages (for Afghanistan and Liberia) were finalized in 2015 and will be presented to the Nairobi for formal adoption.
Six more LDCs are negotiating to join the WTO. They are Bhutan, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Sao Tome & Principe, and Sudan.