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UNCTAD Supports Developing Nations On WTO Accession

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

24 September 2012

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development received praise from landlocked developing countries at their Fourth Ministerial meeting held in Almaty recently, in particular for the organization's provision of inpartial advice to assist nations in their efforts to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It was noted that of 31 LLDCs, nine have yet to achieve membership of the WTO. With the exception of Turkmenistan, eight are engaged in the WTO accession process, some for almost a decade. The nations - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - expressed their gratitude for the role UNCTAD has played, and called for bilateral efforts to be stepped up and expanded upon.

In order to accede to the WTO, each acceding country must undertake negotiations with trading partners that are WTO members. Such trade negotiations are complex and usually take many years to complete. The accession process requires considerable national policy reforms. It also requires that countries prepare themselves in advance with a clear understanding of how the reforms they are willing to undertake affect their trade patterns and economic development. UNCTAD provides advice and expert support in this process, which nations said had proven invaluable during their accession bids.

In addition to bilateral efforts, Anne Miroux, Director of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics, underscored the importance of securing greater market access for LLDCs, to overcome the geographical challenges these nations face. At the summit, she highlighted the need to simplify documentation and customs procedures, and work towards an ambitious trade facilitation agreement at WTO level.

In the Almaty Ministerial Declaration adopted at end of the Fourth Meeting of LLDCs' Trade Ministers committed to "strengthen their substantive cooperation with UNCTAD on matters of particular interest to LLDCs, including trade, development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable and inclusive development".

TAGS: Turkmenistan | tax | Bhutan | export duty | law | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | Ethiopia | Laos | Afghanistan | Azerbaijan | Kazakhstan | import duty | regulation | trade | Tajikistan | Uzbekistan

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