In a statement to Yemen Times,EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy asserts EU’s help to Yemen:EU accelerating Yemen’s accession to WTO [Archives:2003/652/Front Page]

July 21 2003
In a statement to Yemen Times during a seminar on European Union's (EU) trade policies in Brussels on July 15, European Trade Commissioner Mr. Pascal Lamy told Yemen Times that Yemen will continue to receive support from the European Union to enable Yemen to meet the standards required to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). “We are supportive of Yemen's efforts to join the WTO and we will continue providing the help needed to accomplish this, whether in technical assistance or in any other means.” he said.
When asked by YT about whether Yemen should be assisted in building a proper trade and investment-friendly infrastructure to promote trade and commerce internally before approaching the global market by involving in the WTO, Mr. Lamy replied, “It is up to the Yemeni government to provide the list of priorities on which our assistance should be based. We can help in the infrastructure if needed, or we can also continue… We believe that there are different ways and means to help developing countries including Yemen to enhance their trade standards, and we are committed to helping those countries overcome their difficulties.”
Five Euros millions have been donated to Yemen to go toward technical assistance for the Yemeni government over the next five years to ready the country to become a member of the WTO, according to an agreement signed in Sanaa months ago.
Furthermore, Mr. Lamy asserted that Yemen and other developing countries still not members in the WTO need to realize the value of attaining membership to this global organization. “It is in favor of non-member countries to become members not because the WTO needs them but rather because they need such a strong organization to protect their rights in international trade when confronting more powerful countries, which are restricted to the rules and regulations set by the WTO.”
The seminar held in Brussels was part of the EU's preparations for the fifth WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico from 10 to 14 September 2003 The main task in the conference will be to take stock of progress in negotiations and other work under the Doha Development Agenda.
Mr. Pascal also noted that as a country belonging to the Least Developed Countries (LDC) category, Yemen is entitled to several facilities and means of support to help it meet the standards of the WTO. “Among our top priorities is accelerating the procedures for accession of LDCs including Yemen to the WTO.” he said.
This comes after the WTO General Council had agreed months ago on a simplified and accelerated procedure for accession of LDCs to the WTO. This move culminates the initiative launched by the EU in 1999 aimed at facilitating accession of poorest countries to the WTO, taken up in turn by the Third UN Conference on LDCs in Brussels in May 2001. The procedure was applied to LDCs currently in the accession process including Yemen.
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy had also said that the “accession to the WTO is a crucial step for LDCs striving for development and integration in world trade.”
It is worth noting that Yemen would get several benefits if it becomes a WTO member. The benefits include more access to international markets for Yemeni commodities and services, and increased trade and investment volume and possibilities. A country that meets WTO membership requirements also offers a stable and globally accepted business environment, which encourages increased trade and investment.
Accession to membership is also expected to have profound effects on the Yemeni economy, opening a variety of markets and creating business opportunities for the country.