‘Approval of Comoros and Timor-Leste’s WTO membership by Ministers at MC13’

Two new countries, Timor-Leste and Comoros, have officially become members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after their membership deals were unanimously welcomed by trade ministers during the MC13 opening ceremony. The ceremony was attended by President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, President José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade and MC13 Chair Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, and WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In her address to ministers, DG Okonjo-Iweala commended both countries for their historic achievement and extensive domestic reforms to accelerate economic growth despite challenging circumstances. She expressed her delight at welcoming Timor-Leste and Comoros as the first new members of the WTO in almost eight years, highlighting the benefits they will receive as least developed countries.

With twenty-two more countries seeking to join the WTO, the addition of Comoros and Timor-Leste brings the total number of WTO members to 166. Both President Assoumani and President Ramos-Horta emphasized the positive impact of WTO membership on their economies and the people they represent.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi praised the decisions on accession, stating that WTO membership will provide stable frameworks for economic engagement and boost trade, growth, and prosperity for Comoros and Timor-Leste. Both countries will now submit their Protocols for ratification, and they will officially become WTO members 30 days after the deposit of their acceptance documents.

Comoros and Timor-Leste concluded their negotiations in January 2024, with detailed commitments available for both countries. The accession of these two nations showcases the world’s confidence in the WTO and the multilateral trading system, setting the stage for increased cooperation and economic opportunities on a global scale.

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