Support for LDC accessions to the WTO

LDCs that are not members of the WTO benefit from support for the accession process. Guidelines to facilitate the accession process for least developed countries (LDCs) were adopted by the General Council in 2002 (WTO document WT/L/508 (2002)) and strengthened in 2012 (WTO document WT/L/508/Add.1 (2012)). The guidelines encourage World Trade Organization (WTO) members to exercise restraint in seeking market access concessions and commitments on trade in goods and services from acceding LDCs in these processes. They contain benchmarks on goods and services commitments on transparency in accession negotiations; special and differential treatment and transition periods; and technical assistance. Accession of LDCs was recognized as one of the systemic issues under the Work Programme of the LDCs. The Sub-committee on Least Developed Countries regularly monitors the accession of LDCs and serves as one of the forums where acceding LDCs and WTO members exchange views and share experiences. The Director-General reports annually on accessions. The “China Programme” assists acceding Governments in joining the WTO.