Support for WTO Accession

WTO accession is a challenging process involving wide-ranging legislative and executive actions by acceding countries.

Given the inadequacy of resources, expertise, institutional and regulatory frameworks on trade and WTO-related issues in most acceding countries, capacity building support to acceding countries is thus a critical element in efforts to manage their accession process.

UNCTAD's work on trade negotiations and commercial diplomacy helps acceding countries by:

  • Assisting national officials in preparing the initial stages of the accession process, particularly in This includes support during the pre-accession phase in defining national policy objectives, while emphasizing the imperative of national ownership.

  • Assisting in establishing at the national level "permanent" structures such as an inter-ministerial group to coordinate WTO matters especially and in developing a multi-stakeholder, inter-institutional approach that allows consultations and coordination between all relevant ministries and civil society, including parliamentarians and the private sector, on the accession process so as to facilitate the emergence of well-informed national consensus.

  • Sensitising the negotiating team, and other government agencies, private sector and academia, as well as key policy- makers, including parliamentarians on the GATT and WTO agreements, the accession process, as well as obligations and benefits of WTO membership.

Accession to WTO 
Accession to WTO 
  • Assisting in the preparation of the Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime. This includes review of draft written responses to questions posed by members and preparing the negotiating team for the meeting of their Working Party and with their trading partners.

  • Assisting in the review of domestic legislations for GATT and WTO consistency.

  • Undertaking short term sectoral/ impact studies on the impact of WTO accession on national economy.

  • Providing advice in trade policy formulation and implementation, particularly relating to the WTO accession negotiations.

  • Strengthening the capacities of trade supporting national institutional structures (including the academic community) through training and joint analysis of the relevant problem areas.

  • Post-accession activities including assistance to implement commitments made in the process of accession.

UNCTAD's accession assistance is designed to empower acceding countries to better define their trade objectives and integrate them effectively into their development plans, advance their interests in international trade negotiations, monitoring and enforcement, shape and sequence international regulatory practices, and take advantage of the trading opportunities of the multilateral trading system.

UNCTAD has provided and continues to provide technical assistance to acceding developing countries and countries with economies in transition, for example: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Comoros, China, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Jordan, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Montenegro, Nepal, Timor-Leste, Russian Federation, Serbia, Sao Tome & Principe, Samoa, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Viet Nam, Vanuatu and Yemen. Some of them have already joined the WTO since: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cape Verde, China Jordan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Liberia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russian Federation, Samoa, Vanuatu, Viet Nam and Yemen.


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