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Accessions — The Doha agenda

The agenda set out by the Doha Ministerial Conference in November 2001 included several mentions of the accessions process.

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Paragraph 9 of the Ministerial Declaration states that:
“9. We note with particular satisfaction that this conference has completed the WTO accession procedures for China and Chinese Taipei. We also welcome the accession as new members, since our last session, of Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Jordan, Lithuania, Moldova and Oman, and note the extensive market-access commitments already made by these countries on accession. These accessions will greatly strengthen the multilateral trading system, as will those of the 28 countries now negotiating their accession. We therefore attach great importance to concluding accession proceedings as quickly as possible. In particular, we are committed to accelerating the accession of least-developed countries”.

Paragraph 42, in the Section on LDCs states that:

“42. … Accession of LDCs remains a priority for the Membership. We agree to work to facilitate and accelerate negotiations with acceding LDCs. We instruct the Secretariat to reflect the priority we attach to LDCs’ accessions in the annual plans for technical assistance. …”
  

The commitment to accelerate the accession of LDCs is being addressed in the Sub-committee on LDCs. The Sub-committee is mandated to report on the issue to the General Council by early 2003 with recommendations. The Director-General will submit a status report to the Fifth Ministerial Conference on “Implementation of the Commitment by Ministers to Facilitate and Accelerate the Accession of LDCs”.

The Sub-committee has prepared the following background document: “Status of Least-Developed Countries Accession to the World Trade Organization - Note by the Secretariat” (WT/LDC/SWG/IF/11/Rev.2)

It has also agreed to Guidelines on LDC Accessions (WT/COMTD/LDC/12) which were adopted by the General Council at its meeting in December 2002 (WT/L/508).
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