Timor-Leste achieves Observer Status as it progresses in the process of accession to the World Trade Organization

Fri. 16 of December of 2016, 15:54h

The Government’s plan to have Timor-Leste become a full member of the World Trade Organization has taken another step closer to fulfillment with the announcement in Geneva, Switzerland, that Timor-Leste has been granted observer status and a working party is to be established to negotiate membership terms.

 The announcement came at a meeting of the General Council of the WTO on the 7th of December. The WTO produced a media release outlining the advancement of Timor-Leste’s application.

Minister of State, Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, H.E. Estanislau da Silva, thanked the General Council at the meeting saying that “WTO accession has been a major governance, institutional building, economic and foreign policy objective of the Government of Timor-Leste” and was a part of the Government’s program to accelerate growth and support economic diversification. He was interviewed in a video on the WTO website.

ASEAN has welcomed Timor-Leste’s pursuit of WTO membership and in a statement recognized “Timor-Leste’s commitment to the WTO accession process, and its efforts to undertake social and economic reforms to this end.” The statement said “ASEAN urges all members to support Timor-Leste in its accession process and its integration into a multilateral trading system."

The Government Spokesperson issued a media release on the WTO progress and said that the Government  “is intent on negotiating its World Trade Organization membership to facilitate the export of local products, provide protection against discriminatory practices, improve market access, and open up new investment opportunities.”