Timor-Leste signs protocol to join the World Trade Organization

Mon. 26 of February of 2024, 19:01h

The Government of Timor-Leste, through the Vice Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, signed today, February 26th, 2024, the protocol of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) with the Director of this organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The historic act took place during the 13th WTO ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 428634015_258621873956905_1183692273296193033_n

The President of the Republic, José Ramos-Horta, attended the signing ceremony and stated that “Timor-Leste's accession to the WTO marks an important step towards liberalising trade, integrating into the global economy and facilitating access to international markets”.

The President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in a message of congratulations to President José Ramos-Horta, highlighted “the importance of the country's ever deeper integration into the multilateral mechanisms of the international economy”. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa also reiterated “Portugal's unconditional support for the development of Timor-Leste, in the framework of the fraternal relationship between the two countries and peoples, emphasising the potential for mutual cooperation that has yet to be explored”.

The United States also congratulated Timor-Leste on its accession to the WTO, recognising the “enormous achievement” and representing “a milestone on its path to becoming a more strategic global partner”. The United States also reiterated its commitment to “technical assistance and capacity building for the Customs Authority”. 428630398_258628283956264_4025495120673865107_n

Accession to the WTO is a crucial step towards boosting economic reforms in Timor-Leste. It marks a significant advance in trade liberalisation, insertion into the global economy and facilitating access to international markets.

With the formalisation of the WTO accession treaty, Timor-Leste reaffirms its commitment to strengthening infrastructure, human capital and administrative capacity to accelerate economic growth and promote the diversification of the economy.

After submitting its application to the WTO in November 2016, a Working Group was established in December 2016, which concluded negotiations on January 11th, 2024.

With the accession of Timor-Leste and the Comoros, the WTO now has 166 members. The accession protocol will now be sent to the National Parliament for ratification. According to WTO rules, Timor-Leste will become a WTO member 30 days after depositing its instrument of acceptance of the Protocol.