Ethiopia Gearing up for Fifth-round WTO Accession Meeting: Ministry

Addis Ababa: Ethiopia will hold a pivotal fifth-round World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting that would help the country in joining the organization, according to the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration.

Minister of Trade and Regional Integration, Gebremeskel Chala confirmed to ENA that the meeting is anticipated to be held in the next month, May 2024.

Recalling Ethiopia first applied before 20 years ago, the minister stated that the negotiation endeavor was disrupted in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.

However, the minister revealed that Ethiopia has been intensifying its efforts and he mentioned a delegation visit to the WTO Director-General in Geneva, Switzerland back in July 2023.

According to him, this visit resulted in a three-year timeframe for Ethiopia to finalize negotiations and secure WTO membership.

Consequently, Ethiopia has received around 180 questions and 9 documents from member countries and potential negotiating partners, the minister pointed out.

Thes
e inquiries will be addressed on a dedicated platform that will be facilitated by the WTO itself.

Gebremeskel noted that Ethiopia’s negotiating team to the WTO is well-prepared to navigate these discussions in a manner that ensures the nation’s economic development and commercial competitiveness.

Ethiopia has held observer status at the WTO since 2003, similar to the European Union.

This role has allowed the country to gain valuable insight into the organization’s workings and prepare for full membership.

The ministry is currently finalizing crucial documents required for WTO accession, he stated.

These documents cover various aspects, including goods and services trade offers, import licensing procedures, information of public business enterprises, trade-related laws, and export subsidy and agricultural support details.

For Gebremeskel, Ethiopia’s determination to secure WTO membership demonstrates its commitment to deeper global trade integration.

By successfully navigating the upcoming negotiations,
the country can unlock new economic opportunities, enhance its commercial standing, and participate more actively in the international trade system, it was learned.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency