Yemen & Prospects of Joining WTO [Archives:2000/29/Business & Economy]

July 17 2000

The 20th century witnessed a lot of events and achievements that still have great impact even in the 21st century. Among those outstanding developments was the signing of GATT and the establishment of the WTO in Marrakech, Morocco 1994. This event marked the end of the Uruguay Round which lasted 7 years. After the signing by 127 countries, the WTO became the institutional framework to facilitate commercial exchange among the member-states.
The third article in the Marrakech agreement to establish the WTO outlined the following duties:
1- Execution and administration of the duties outlined by the treaty and the multilateral commercial agreements.
2- Organization of an assembly for the member-states to negotiate their trading relations.
3- Supervision of the execution of the understanding memorandum related to rules and legislation controlling disputes.
4- Cooperation with the World Bank to outline a balanced world economic policy.
Preparation for establishing the WTO commenced in the beginning of the 1940s. It passed through a number of versions chief among which was the GATT.

WTO Objectives
1- Improving the living standards, income and production.
2- Achieving a proper usage of world resources.
3- Protection of the environment.
4- Increasing shares of the developing countries.

Yemen: to join the WTO or not?
Whether to join WTO or not, has sometimes been discussed superficially. Questions on this issue should concentrate on the pros and cons of joining the WTO with a weak economy. Some economists have been against Yemen’s joining it without studying the circumstances arising out of globalization. Others call for accelerating the decision to join the organization without much consideration of the consequences that may affect our economy, although it may pose a threat to our local products in a competitive market.
To be more precise and objective, we have to realize that it is difficult to remain outside the ring. We have to take into consideration that about 80% of the world’s trading exchange is finalized within the framework of the organization. Therefore, we have to keep pace with the whole world while at the same time trying to avoid the negative impact of joining the WTO. We have, however, to take full advantage of the privileges available to the developing countries.