The General Council of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has approved Vanuatu's WTO membership bid. Vanuatu must ratify the deal by December 31, 2011, before becoming the WTO's 154th member thirty days after ratification.

“With Vanuatu the WTO receives a least-developed country into the family," WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said. "Its membership will strengthen the multilateral trading system and provide this country with a stable and predictable trade environment. Vanuatu’s accession brings the WTO one step closer to our goal of universal membership."

Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, welcomed the announcement stating: “This is a happy moment of historical significance for Vanuatu. This accession will bring substantial gains to our country.”

Vanuatu applied for WTO membership in 1995 and the Working Party concluded the negotiations on May 2, 2011.

In accepting Vanuatu as the latest WTO member, the General Council considered the Working Party report which outlined the territory's reformed trade regime, its commitments as a WTO member and market access schedules on goods and services.

October 28, 2011

Source: Tax News