Timor-Leste achieves positive steps at the 3rd Meeting of the Working Group for the process of national accession to the WTO

Tue. 03 of May of 2022, 17:33h
WhatsApp Image 2022-05-02 at 12.48.10

The Timor-Leste delegation, led by the Chief Negotiator for Timor-Leste's WTO accession, the current Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Eng. Joaquim Amaral, accompanied by the Vice Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, Domingos Lopes Antunes and by the Ambassador Maria de Lurdes Martins de Sousa Bessa, Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste in Geneva, together with the Timor-Leste delegation, participated in the third meeting of the Working Group with WTO member countries, in the WTO's General Quarter, in Geneva, on April 29th, 2022. The presence of Timor-Leste's delegation follows an official invitation from the WTO Secretariat, as set out in Timor-Leste's Indicative Roadmap.

This third meeting of the Working Group was headed by the Chairman of the Timor-Leste Working Group, Portuguese Ambassador Rui Macieira, and had strong participation of the WTO members, as an affirmation of the 8th Constitutional Government's political will regarding this accession process.

During this third meeting of the Working Group for Timor-Leste's accession to the WTO, Timor-Leste was warmly welcomed by WTO member countries. Liberia, from the African continent, even appealed to the WTO member countries to support Timor-Leste's efforts to become a member of the WTO, because, in this process, Timor-Leste will be a model for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Similarly, Angola and Cape Verde also continue to express their support to Timor-Leste in the WTO accession process.

Other American and European countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom and some Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Thailand, and Japan have also stated their position of support for Timor-Leste's future accession to the WTO. Support has also come from neighbouring countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

During this third Working Group meeting, WTO member countries raised important questions on the status of bilateral negotiations, notably about market access for goods and services. The meeting also reviewed some additional questions raised by WTO member countries regarding Timor-Leste's readiness, including on the sanitary and phytosanitary checklist and national export support in the agricultural sector. WTO member countries also continued to ask Timor-Leste for updates, notably on the review of legislation, as well as on the legislative action plan to respond to WTO transparency measures.

The third meeting of the Working Group was attended by representatives from WTO member countries and was a follow-up to the first and second meetings of the Working Group, which were held on October 1st, 2020 and July 29th, 2021, respectively, in Dili. Before proceeding to the third Working Group meeting, the Government of Timor-Leste carefully prepared the necessary documents that are a reference for the acceding countries through bilateral meetings with interested member countries such as the United States of America, the European Union, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand and Cambodia.

In this third meeting of the Working Group for Timor-Leste's WTO Accession, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Joaquim Amaral, together with the Timor-Leste delegation, participated in a morning session with WTO member countries and continued in the afternoon in the second session with a Round Table with Development Partners, chaired by the Deputy Director-General of WTO, Xiangchen Zhang.

This meeting with Development Partners was a follow-up to the first meeting, which took place in Dili in 2020. The meeting was an affirmation of Timor-Leste's readiness to become a member of the WTO so that it can have assistance and support from Development Partners in the future.

On the occasion, and before advancing to the meeting with the development partners, the Timor-Leste Chief Negotiator for WTO Accession, Joaquim Amaral and his entourage, held intensive meetings with other development partners, namely with the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The Timor-Leste delegation for this third meeting of the Working Group and the second session of the Round Table with Development Partners had the presence and participation of various State institutions, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals, as well as representatives from autonomous agencies such as SERVE, TradeInvest, IQTL and the Central Bank of Timor-Leste (BCTL).