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The World Trade Organization (WTO) has announced that it has received an official notification from Vanuatu that it has ratified its accession package, paving the way for the nation to become the 157th member of the global trade body on August 24, 2012.
Lauding the completion of Vanuatu's domestic ratification procedures, the WTO's Director General, Pascal Lamy said: “In 30 days, Vanuatu will take a seat at the WTO family table. Its WTO membership will facilitate Vanuatu’s integration in the global economy. This is crucial for a least-developed country such as Vanuatu, since trade can be an engine for growth and poverty reduction. Vanuatu will benefit from a predictable and stable basis for development.”
Vanuatu's bid to become a WTO member began some seventeen years ago, in 1995. A Working Party concluded negotiations with the nation on May 2, 2011, and the package outlining the nation's commitments was endorsed by the General Council of the WTO on October 26, 2011.
With the completion of its ratification procedures, Vanuatu has committed, that from the date of its accession, that it will fully apply all WTO provisions without any transitional period except on intellectual property and on the publication of trade information. Vanuatu will apply an average final bound rate of 39.7% and has made specific market access commitments in respect of ten services sectors. For 98 tariff lines related to products such as wines, spirits, beer, turbo propellers, tobacco, turbo jets, chemicals, cell phones, radios and televisions, Vanuatu will phase its tariff reductions in over a period of up to 2015.
In addition, Vanuatu has agreed that it will not apply any anti-dumping, countervailing duties or safeguard measures until it has implemented appropriate laws in conformity with WTO Agreements. Lastly, Vanuatu has pledged to further liberalize its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy, while offering a transparent and predictable environment for trade and foreign investment.
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