Vanuatu, Samoa to Accede to WTO
28 October 2011: The World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council approved Vanuatu's accession package to the WTO, which now needs to be ratified. It also concluded accession negotiations with Samoa. Both countries remarked on the economic gains that accession would bring.
Vanuatu's negotiations were concluded on 2 May 2011, following a 16-year negotiation process. It applied for WTO membership in 1995. The country must ratify the package by 31 December 2011, to become the WTO's 154th member.
Vanuatu's accession package contains the report of the Working Party on the accession, outlining its reformed trade regime and its commitments as a WTO member, the market access schedules on goods and services, the General Council Decision and the Protocol of Accession. The materials state that Vanuatu will implement the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) from 1 December 2012, and will keep its agricultural subsidies.
Samoa recently concluded its accession negotiations to the WTO, and the accession package is expected to be approved formally at the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference, to take place on 15-17 December 2011. [WTO Press Release on Vanuatu] [WTO Press Release on Samoa]