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Lamy Highlights WTO Benefits For Ethiopia

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

22 May 2012

The Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy has encouraged Ethiopia to speed reforms towards accession to the global trade body, remarking upon the benefits membership would bring for the nation's economic development.

In a recent speech, Lamy said that membership lends added credibility to a government's policies and sends a clear signal to investors about a country's commitment to an open economy. "The implementation of WTO rules is, in this sense, synonymous with the acceptance of internationally-recognized best practices," Lamy observed, noting that this would then entice foreign investment and with it technological know-how.

"WTO membership has been proven to be a catalyst for trade-related domestic reforms," Lamy said, adding that domestic businesses stand to benefit from the establishment of a transparent and predictable trade environment. WTO membership also serves as a vital instrument to lock-in reform, preventing 'slip' into 'old, uncompetitive ways', Lamy noted.

"This infrastructure of openness, transparency, and predictability in the foreign trade regime establishes the environment required by investors for business decision-making. New investments that flow create jobs, diversify the economy and increase welfare overall," he stressed.

"Let me close in mentioning that there is a high level of goodwill from members towards a rapid conclusion of Ethiopia's accession. This goodwill needs to be matched by the strong and sustained commitment of Ethiopia to conclude its accession negotiations," Lamy concluded.

The General Council established a Working Party to examine the application of Ethiopia on February 10, 2003. Ethiopia’s Memorandum on its Foreign Trade Regime was circulated in January 2007. The Working Party on the Accession of Ethiopia held its first meeting in May 2008 to begin the examination of Ethiopia’s foreign trade regime. The Working Party met for the second time in May 2011.

TAGS: business | law | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | Ethiopia | trade

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