Timor-Leste on the verge of finalising WTO accession negotiations

The 9th Constitutional Government, through the Vice Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of Tourism and Environment, currently Chief Negotiator for Timor-Leste’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, together with the Timor-Leste delegation, concluded the sixth meeting of the Working Group for WTO accession on October 11th, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting marks an essential step in Timor-Leste’s journey to become a full member of this global trade organisation.

Timor-Leste formalised its application for accession to the WTO in November 2016. Since December of that year, the Working Group has been established to examine the application for accession, as provided for in the Marrakesh Agreement.

During the 6th meeting, Timor-Leste presented the progress made on the reforms and commitments required for its accession to the WTO. The agenda included discussions on various topics, such as trade policies, the legal framework and market access commitments.

This meeting is a continuation of previous meetings held by the Government of Timor-Leste since the First Meeting of the Working Group in October 2020. Following the closure of this meeting, the Chief Negotiator proceeded to conclude bilateral negotiations with US Ambassador Katherine Tai, who expressed that “the United States looks forward to working with Timor-Leste and other WTO members in Timor-Leste’s efforts to advance and complete its accession.”

The 9th Constitutional Government is committed to building a robust and sustainable economy to benefit its population and contribute to regional and international trade. In this sense, accession to the WTO is considered a fundamental step towards improving economic prospects and strengthening relations with the international community.

Timor-Leste is now on the verge of finalising its WTO accession negotiations and has been praised by WTO members for its commitment and technical work. The Head of the Working Group highlighted the speed of progress in the negotiations and expressed confidence that Timor-Leste is on the right track towards WTO accession.

Almost all the remaining elements in the accession negotiations have been completed, marking the closure of the last outstanding bilateral market access negotiations and progressing towards the conclusion of discussions on the draft Working Group Report.

The process is now entering its final stage. Timor-Leste has to finalise outstanding issues and provide additional documentation to formally conclude its accession to the WTO at the 13th Ministerial Conference in February 2024.

The Timor-Leste delegation included the Minister of Transport and Communications, Miguel Marques Gonçalves Manetelu and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Filipus Nino Pereira.

url: https://timor-leste.gov.tl?lang=en&p=34670