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Information about the organization

Beijing 2012 Round Table

Title: “Round Table for Least-developed Countries (LDCs) on Best Practices in the WTO Accession Process”
Sponsored by: the Government of China
Organized by: the WTO Secretariat
Date: 29 May to 1 June 2012
Location: Beijing, China


See also:

Press release: China gives a USD 400,000 programme for least developed countries

Participation Guidelines

The “Beijing 2012 Round Table” is one of the three components of the “China’s LDCs and Accessions Programme” (the China Programme). This “China Programme” was established by the Government of China under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Government of China and the World Trade Organization on 14 July 2011. The “China Programme” is aimed at strengthening LDCs’ participation in the WTO and at assisting acceding LDCs in their accessions to the WTO.

The objectives of the “Beijing 2012 Round Table” are to: 1) share experiences and best practices in the WTO accession process; 2) contribute to building negotiating capacity for acceding LDC governments; 3) establish and consolidate a network of LDCs’ Chief Negotiators in the WTO accession process; and 4) identify priorities, within an overall plan to support those Least-developed Countries still in the accession process.

Participants at the “Beijing 2012 Round Table” will share accession negotiating experiences; identify key areas in accession-related domestic reform; and, review areas where capacity-building support is required. 

 

28 May 2012

All Day

Registration upon arrival at Beijing Hotel (17th Floor, No. 33 East Changan Avenue, Beijing, China)
  

Day One — 29 May 2012


Photograph of Beijing 2012 Round Table Participants

 

08:45

Group Photograph for Beijing 2012 Round Table Participants

09:00

Opening Ceremony

 

 

 

09:45

Session 1:  LDC Accessions —  State-of-Play, Best Practices and Challenges

Since 1995, four Least-Developed Countries (LDCs), Cambodia (2004), Nepal (2004), Cape Verde (2008), and Samoa (2012), have acceded to the WTO pursuant to Article XII of the Marrakesh Agreement. Vanuatu completed its accession process in 2011.  Domestic ratification is pending. Another 10 LDCs are in the process of accession. Among them, the accessions of Lao PDR and Yemen have reached their final “end-game” stage and are poised for conclusion in 2012. The remaining LDC accessions are at various stages of maturity. In this Session, the WTO Secretariat will provide a state-of-play of ongoing LDC accessions and discuss the accumulating set of evolving “Best Practices in the Accession Process”.  The representatives of LDCs and all participants will identify challenges at different stages of the accession process accompanied with an exchange of views on how these have been successfully addressed in the past.

Moderator:

    Hon. Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, Deputy Prime Minister, Samoa

Lead Speakers:

  • Presentation on the state-of-play and best practices
    Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat (20 min.) 
  • Challenges of LDCs on Accessions
    H.E. Dr. Nam Viyaketh, Minister, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR (10 min.)
  • H.E. Mr. Mekonnen Manyazewal Meka, Minister, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ethiopia (10 min.)
    > download presentation
  • H.E. Dr. Saadaldeen Ali Salim Talib, Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Yemen (10 min.)

Open Discussion: All participants

 

11:15

Session 2: How to Drive and Conclude an Accession Process — Perspectives of Former Chief Negotiators

Shared experience is a valuable asset. The former Chief Negotiators of China, Cambodia, Montenegro, Oman, the Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine will share their experiences on how to manage a WTO accession process and drive it to a successful conclusion.  Although the challenges faced by these Chief Negotiators were varied, they nevertheless offer useful lessons to the 10 LDCs in their ongoing processes. Their knowledge and experience should assist LDC Chief Negotiators to tackle challenges that they may face in their accession processes.  There are efficiency gains form shared experiences, if learned and applied. This session will explore, among others:

  • coordination strategies with domestic stakeholders;
  • explaining adjustment costs in relation to the benefits of WTO accession;
  • managing bilateral negotiations with Members;
  • maximizing the value of the Director-General and Working Party Chairpersons; and
  • designing and organizing the “end game” process.

Moderator:

    Ms. Patricia Francis, Executive Director, International Trade Centre

Lead speakers:

    Hon. Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, Deputy Prime Minister, Samoa (15 min.)
    > download presentation

    Mr. Long Yongtu, Former Chief Negotiator, China (15 min.)
    H.E. Mr. Goran Šćepanović, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy, Montenegro (15 min.)

    H.E. Mr. Sorasak Pan, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia (15 min.)

    Commentator:  Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat

Open Discussion: All participants 

 

 

14:00

Session 3:  Best Practices — Domestic Preparation and Coordination

Domestic economic and institutional reforms, codified in the legislation, are at the heart of each WTO accession process. To achieve balanced terms of accession, consistent with individual trade, financial and development needs, acceding governments should devise negotiating strategies on the basis of detailed analyses of the potential impact of the WTO accession. Potential benefits, as well as defensive interests, should be identified at an early stage so as to crystalize negotiating objectives and secure long-term political and legislative commitment to WTO Membership. 

Accession negotiations require the establishment of structures responsible for their management and progress. A carefully formulated institutional hierarchy should be established at the beginning to support the entire accession negotiations.  The structure should have adequate authority to coordinate various governmental agencies involved in the process and to communicate effectively with the legislature, as well as economic actors, the academia, and civil society. Aspects to be explored include:

  • preparing impact assessments — potential impact and benefit;
  • creating a coordinating institutional structure for decision making on WTO accession;
  • appointment a Chief Negotiator and composition of a negotiating team;
  • co-operation with Parliament, business sectors and the general public for “ownership”; and
  • coordination and collaboration among government agencies.

Background Reading: Section V of the Director-General's 2011 Annual Report on Accessions

Moderator:

    H.E. Mr. Georges-Henri J.B. Barberousse, Permanent Representative of Haiti to the WTO and LDC Coordinator

Lead speakers:

    Mr. Azanaw Tadesse Abreha, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the WTO (20 min.)
    > download presentation

    Mr. Laohoua Cheuching, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR (20 min.)

    Ms. Danijela Gačević, Advisor, Ministry of Economy, Montenegro (20 min.)
    > download presentation

Commentator:  Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat

Open Discussion:  All participants 


Day Two — 30 May 2012

09:00

Session 4:  Best Practices — the Negotiating Process

The negotiating process is one of the most complex and challenging aspects of WTO accessions which defines its uniqueness. Bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral negotiations involve various Members and groupings across the range of the accession process. To deal with challenging WTO accession negotiations, improved understanding is needed with regard to procedures, strategies, techniques, and “best practices” of the negotiating process. The discussion will revolve around:

  • Working Party Chairperson;
  • Bilateral Negotiating Track:
    • initial/revised market access offers;
    • strategy and management;
    • “good offices”/facilitation of Working Party Chairpersons and the Director-General;
    • Secretariat consolidation of concluded Bilateral Market Access Agreements;
  • Multilateral Negotiating Track:
    • managing multilateral discussions/dialogues on trade regime;
    • meetings of Working Party;
    • documentation: Q&R, commitment paragraphs, legislative action plans;
  • regular contact with the WTO Secretariat; and
  • observership of other Accession Working Parties.

Background Reading: Section V of the Director-General's 2011 Annual Report on Accessions

Moderator:

    H.E. Mr. Xiaozhun Yi, Permanent Representative of China to the WTO / Chairperson of the Working Party on the Accession of Lao PDR to the WTO

Lead speakers: 

    H.E. Mr. Sorasak Pan, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia (20 min.)
    > download presentation

    Mrs. Nella Levy, Principal Foreign Service Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Samoa (20 min.)
    > download presentation

    Dr. Hamoud Al-Najar, Chief, Communication and Coordination Office with WTO, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Yemen  (20 min.)

Commentator: Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat

Open Discussion: All participants  

 

 

14:00

Session 5:  Best Practices — Technical Assistance, Partnership, Outreach and Policy Advice

Capacity-building provides the foundation of knowledge for the accession process. Knowledge of the rules-based multilateral trading system and the application of WTO principles and agreements to the national legal framework are prior conditions for WTO membership. Various technical assistance programmes are available from the WTO, ITC, UNCTAD, World Bank, IMF and other international organizations, as well as individual Members. Better coordination is required; more timely delivery and stronger partnership are of urgent necessities. This session will discuss both the demand and supply sides of technical assistance to explore a strategy for addressing the real demand of LDCs in achieving their accession goals.  The session will also explore strategies for intensifying outreach efforts with both domestic stakeholders and external partners so as to ensure a smoother and faster accession process.   Issues to be discussed could include:

  • technical assistance and capacity-building programmes by agencies;
  • technical assistance by individual Members;
  • “Geneva Week” platform;
  • WTO Reference Centre;
  • external and domestic outreach in supporting acceding LDCs;
  • visits of Chairpersons to acceding LDCs; and
  • the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).

Background Reading: Section V of the Director-General's 2011 Annual Report on Accessions

Moderator: 

    Mr. Atsuyuki Oike, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the WTO / Former Chairperson of the Working Party on the Accession of Samoa to the WTO

Lead speakers:

    Partnerships:  Ms. Patricia Francis, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (15 min.)

    Technical Assistance: Ms. Maika Oshikawa, Chief, Asia and Pacific Desk, ITTC, WTO Secretariat  (15 min.)

    Policy Advice:  Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat (15 min.)

    Accessions Databases:  Mr. Dayong Yu, Counsellor, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat (15 min.)

Comments by participants:

    H.E. Mr. Abdou Nassur Madi, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance, Budget, Economy and Foreign Trade, Comoros (10 min.)

    H.E Mr. Abdelrahim Ahmed Khalil Eltayeb, Acting Secretary General, Ministry of International Co‑operation, Sudan (10 min.)

    Ms Miata Beysolow, Minister, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Liberia (10 min.)
    > download presentation

Open Discussion: All participants

 

16:30

Session 6:  Briefing on WT/L/846 (Ministerial Decision on LDCs' Accessions)

Ministers at MC8 reaffirmed the 2002 Guidelines and mandated the Sub-Committee on LDCs to formulate recommendations to “further strengthen, streamline and operationalize” the 2002 General Council Decision on Accession of LDCs (WT/L/508). Ambassador Smidt, the Chairperson of the Sub-Committee for LDCs will brief participants on the state-of-play of the ongoing process and the emerging results so far in preparation for the report to the General Council in July.  The Chairperson for Lao PDR and the former Chairperson for Samoa will share their experiences in facilitating the Accessions of Lao PDR and Samoa, in particular on the operationalization of the 2002 LDC Guidelines.

Briefing by:

    H.E. Mr. Steffen Smidt, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the WTO / Chairperson of the Sub‑Committee for LDCs / Chairperson of the Working Party on the Accession of Ethiopia to the WTO (20 min.)

Lead speakers:

Commentator: Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat

Open Discussion: All participants


Day Three — 31 May 2012

09:00

Session 7:  Explaining the Benefits / Impact of WTO Accession / Lessons Learned/Post-Accession Support — Exchange of Views

This Session will involve an exchange of views on the rationale and benefits of WTO accession, including its impacts, lessons learned and the support needed in the immediate post-accession stage. The discussion will revolve around:

  • Rationale and logic of WTO accession;
  • Securing domestic ownership in addressing adjustment questions;
  • Government/industry coordination; and
  • Implementation/benefits relationship.

Co-moderators:  

    H.E. Mr. Steffen Smidt, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the WTO / Chairperson of the Sub‑Committee for LDCs / Chairperson of the Working Party on the Accession of Ethiopia to the WTO;

    Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat

Lead speakers:

    Benefits of WTO accession — H.E. Mr. Valeriy Pyatnytskyi, Commissioner for European Integration, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ukraine (15 min.)
    > download presentation

    Impact of WTO accession — Mr. Xiankun Lu, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of China to the WTO; (15 min.)
    > download presentation

    Benefits of WTO accession — Ms. Hilda Al-Hinai, Deputy Permanent Representative of Oman to the WTO; Chairperson of the Working Party on the Accession of Seychelles to the WTO (15 min.)

    Lessons learned — Mr. Jib Raj Koirala, Under Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, Nepal (15 min.)
    > download presentation

    Post-accession support — H.E Mr. Roy Mickey Joy, Ambassador, Embassy of Vanuatu to the European Union (15 min.)

Open Discussion:  All participants

 

 

14:00

Closing Session:

    — Remarks by Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division, WTO Secretariat

    — Remarks by H.E. Mr. Georges-Henri J.B. Barberousse, Permanent Representative of Haiti to the WTO and LDC Coordinator

    — Closing of Round Table by [Deputy] Minister of Commerce, China

15:30

Press Conference (one hour)

China, LDC Coordinator and WTO Representative

  

 

Day Four — 1 June 2012

9:00

Official visit to the Beijing Economic-technological Development Area (3 hours)

INVITED PARTICIPANTS

    Chief Negotiators of participating LDC Acceding Governments:
    Afghanistan, Comoros, Ethiopia, Lao PDR, Liberia, Sudan and Yemen.
    Absent: Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe.

    Representatives of Article XII LDC Members:
    Cambodia, Nepal, Samoa and Vanuatu.

    Representatives of Article XII Non-LDC Members:
    China, Montenegro, Oman, Russian Federation and Ukraine.

    Coordinator of the LDCs' Consultative Group:
    Haiti.

    Chairpersons of LDC Accession Working Parties:
    — H.E. Mr. Steffen Smidt (Denmark), Chairperson of the Sub-Committee for LDCs and Working Party Chairperson on the Accession of Ethiopia to the WTO;

    — H.E. Mr. Xiaozhun Yi (China), Chairperson of the Working Party on the Accession of Lao PDR to the WTO; and

    — Mr. Atsuyuki Oike (Japan), Former Chairperson of the Working Party on the Accession of Samoa to the WTO.

    Representative of ITC:
    — Ms. Patricia Francis, Executive Director of the ITC;

    Representatives of the WTO:
    — Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director-General, WTO;
    — Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Director, Accessions Division;
    — Mr. Xiaodong Wang, Counsellor, Office of the Director-General;
    — Ms. Maika Oshikawa, Chief, Asia and Pacific Desk, ITTC; and
    — Mr. Dayong Yu, Counsellor, Accessions Division.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

WORKSHOP MATERIALS

A Handbook on Accession to the WTO;
The Director-General’s Annual Report on Accessions, 2009-2011 (WT/ACC/13, 14 and 15);
The 2002 Guidelines on LDCs’ accessions (WT/L/508);
The Ministerial Decision on LDCs’ Accessions (WT/L/846);
Procedures for Negotiations under Article XII — Note by the Secretariat (WT/ACC/1);
Technical Note on the Accession Process — Note by the Secretariat (WT/ACC/10/Rev.4); and
Technical Note on the Accession Process — Information on Current Accessions (WT/ACC/11/Rev.10).

 

WORKSHOP FOCAL POINTS

Afghanistan, Bhutan, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Lao PDR, Liberia, Sao Tomé & Principe, Sudan, and Yemen

So far, several Members have provided strong platforms for technical assistance and capacity building on accessions. These have included:  Australia, China, the European Union (and several of its member states), New Zealand, Oman and the United States.