Timor-Leste Expects to “Unleash Potential” of its Economy With WTO Membership

Ministers of the World Trade Organization (WTO) formally approved the membership of Timor-Leste, which the Timorese authorities expect will “unleash the potential” of its economy.

At a special ceremony held at the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi,  attended by President José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste, trade ministers unanimously welcomed the WTO membership deal, along with that of Comoros.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala paid special tribute to the governments of both countries for “this historic achievement” and for having undertaken an extensive programme of domestic reforms to accelerate economic growth despite very challenging circumstances.

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“The WTO is welcoming its first new members in almost eight years: Timor-Leste and Comoros. We celebrate the hard work they have put in, and the beneficial but challenging reforms they have implemented at home. Both countries are least developed countries, and we are excited to see them reap the gains of membership as they become new members of the WTO,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

President Ramos-Horta said “being a WTO member is essential to unleash the potential of our economy in several sectors”.

“We are committed to diversify our economy, become a part of the value chain of the global economy and to improve the life of our people through trade.”

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Both governments will now submit their Protocols for ratification by their legislative assemblies. In keeping with WTO rules, Comoros and Timor-Leste will become members of the WTO 30 days following the deposit of the respective instruments of acceptance of the Protocol.

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