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U.S. and Yemen Conclude Bilateral WTO Accession Agreement

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk today announced that the United States and Yemen have successfully concluded bilateral market access negotiations as part of Yemen’s efforts to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The bilateral agreement provides new market access opportunities for U.S. providers of agriculture, goods and services, and sets the stage for Yemen to complete accession negotiations with WTO Members. Both governments have been working intensively to finalize the tariff and services schedules after reaching an agreement in principal in April 2010. Officials from USTR and Yemen’s Ministry of Industry and Trade have signed the final schedules reflecting the results of the negotiations and deposited them with the WTO Secretariat. Both governments will continue to work with other WTO Members to conclude the multilateral Working Party negotiations in the coming weeks so that Yemen may become a member of the WTO as early as possible in 2011.

“This agreement reflects the spirit of cooperation between our two countries and represents a milestone in our efforts to strengthen our bilateral trade and economic relationship. We greatly appreciate the hard work that Trade Minister Mutawakel and his team have put into the accession process,” said Ambassador Kirk. “The United States is committed to implementing a government wide strategy with Yemen that seeks to support key economic reforms. Yemen’s progress toward adopting international standards is an important step toward integration with global markets.”

“We look forward to seeing Yemen successfully integrated into the multilateral rules-based trading system,” he added. “The economic reforms and institutions established through WTO accession are a proven framework for fostering economic growth and development. By successfully completing its bid for WTO Membership, we will see greater openness, further development of the rule of law, and economic reform in Yemen.”

BACKGROUND

Yemen has been negotiating its terms of accession to the WTO since 2002. This bilateral market access agreement and those concluded with other WTO members in the course of the negotiation will be consolidated. The Report of the Working Party and Protocol of Accession will become part of Yemen’s overall package containing the terms of its accession to the WTO. This package must be formally approved by WTO Members and then accepted by the Government of Yemen. Thirty days after the WTO receives its notice of acceptance, Yemen will become a member of the WTO. No Congressional action is required on the accession since Yemen already receives Permanent Normal Trade Relations from the United States.