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Zambia Applauds WTO Accession of Comoros and Timor-Leste at MC13 Opening Session

The Thirteenth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) commenced in Abu Dhabi with Zambia playing an active role in welcoming the accession of Comoros and Timor-Leste to the WTO, marking a significant milestone in international trade.

In the opening session held on February 26, 2024, the formal entry of Comoros and Timor-Leste into the WTO was celebrated as a momentous achievement.

These are the first two new members to join the organization since 2015. For both nations, WTO membership signals a pathway to full participation in the global trading system, fostering economic growth and opening doors to international investment opportunities.

Zambia, as a founding member of the WTO, expressed its support for the accession of the two countries. Mrs. Lillian Bwalya, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, highlighted the extensive negotiations and technical efforts undertaken by the WTO Secretariat, the new members, and various other WTO members to realize this milestone.

Mrs. Bwalya, who leads the Zambian delegation, emphasized the importance of inclusive trade during a session focusing on trade and inclusion. She underscored the significance of initiatives like Aid for Trade, particularly the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), in bridging the gap between developed and developing countries within the multilateral trading system.

Aid for Trade initiatives, she noted, are instrumental in addressing capacity constraints, enhancing infrastructure, and facilitating the integration of economies, especially Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like Zambia, into regional and global trade.

The opening session was honored by the presence of His Royal Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the UAE, inaugurated the session, alongside Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the WTO.

In a symbolic moment, the Zambian delegation, led by Mrs. Bwalya, was pictured alongside Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, marking Zambia’s active engagement and commitment to the objectives of the WTO at MC13.

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