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The EU and the WTO | Bali, December 4th 2013

European Commission welcomes Yemen’s accession to the World Trade Organisation

The 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Bali (Indonesia) today finalised the negotiations on Yemen’s accession. Once its domestic ratification process will be completed, Yemen will become the 160th Member of the Organization.

The Ministerial Conference of the WTO, which is made up of all WTO Members, today approved the ‘accession package’ on the accession of Yemen, which ranges amongst the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) according to United Nations criteria. Taking account of its specific constraints, Yemen will benefit from a number of transitional periods. Guidelines to facilitate and streamline the accession of LDCs were approved by the WTO membership, which guided the negotiations with Yemen. This accession creates the conditions for an improved trade and investment environment and is an important step for the modernisation and stabilisation of the country.
Following the decision by the Ministerial Conference, Yemen now has 6 months to ratify its accession package. It will become the Organization’s 160th Member 30 days after the ratification date.

Background

Yemen applied for WTO membership in 2000. A number of legislative and institutional reforms have been carried out to prepare for accession and will continue in some sectors as agreed with WTO members.
In accordance with guidelines adopted by the WTO General Council on the accession of Least Developed Countries, WTO members have exercised restraint in seeking concessions and commitments. The average most-favoured-nation tariff rate applied on industrial goods is around 20% and on agricultural goods 26% of the price. Yemen’s schedule of specific commitments in services is satisfactory considering its LDC status. Yemen’s major trading partners are China and, to a lesser extent, the United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand and the EU. Yemen benefits from a duty-free quota-free access to the EU market under the Generalised System of Preference.

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