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WTO approves entry of Nepal, Cambodia

WTO has approved the entry of two of the world's least developed countries, Camodia and Nepal, into the trade body.

business Updated: Sep 12, 2003 19:51 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has approved through consensus the entry of two of the world's least developed countries, Camodia and Nepal, into the trade body on the second day of the Ministerial in Cancun.

These two countries will have to ratify within 30 days to become members of WTO.

While Cambodia had applied to become a member in late 1994, Nepal applied in 1989, a WTO release said adding the plenary session of WTO approved their entry last evening.

"The swift conclusion of Cambodia's membership negotiations shows that the new guidelines to allow least- developed countries to negotiate membership more easily are working," WTO director-general Supachai Panitchpakdi said.

It was also a signal that WTO member governments are serious in their commitment to improving developing countries and least developed countries participation in the world trading system, he said.

"The completion of Nepal's accession negotiations is most welcome, not only does it expand the number of total WTO members, it also increases the diversify and depth of the WTO community of members," Supachai said.

"All accessions, whether big or small, are about creating equal opportunities for growth and prosperity," the WTO director-general said.

"Accession and membership of the WTO are, fundamentally, about commitment to improvement of the standards of living of the citizens, both economically and physically. Indeed that is the theme of the ministerial conference and the Doha Development Agenda".

After the approval of Nepal's accession, the head of the Nepalese delegation, Hari Bahadur Basnet, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supplies said: "It is our conviction that joining this organisation would not only enhance our effectiveness in trading capacity but would also result in the expansion of trade, leading to a higher level of growth and enhancement of quality of life of our people."

Cambodia's Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh criticised the accession process saying his country had paid a "heavy price" for the membership.

"We believe that the package of concessions and commitments that we have to accept certainly goes far beyond what is commensurate with the level of development of a least developed country like Cambodia," Prasidh said.

"For the sake of national reconciliation and peace in Cambodia, we paid heavy price and now, for the sake of world integration, we had to pay another heavy price."

Indian Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley welcomed the entry of the two friendly countries into the WTO fold.

First Published: Sep 12, 2003 12:00 IST