Timor-Leste signs Protocol of Accession to the WTO

On February 26th, during the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Timor-Leste joined the organisation by signing the accession protocol. Led by the Vice Prime Minister and Chief Negotiator of Timor-Leste’s membership to the WTO, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, the national delegation included leaders from state institutions and relevant technical teams in trade and economic matters, including the Minister of Transport and Communications, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Forestry, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Governor of the Central Bank of Timor-Leste (BCTL), the President of the National Parliament, parliamentary party leaders, and Timor-Leste’s Permanent Representative in Geneva. It is noteworthy to mention the presence of the President of the Republic.

A group of national experts participated in preparatory meetings in the two weeks before the signing of the agreement. After the signing, technical teams from some ministries remained in Abu Dhabi to draft legal instruments and policies related to trade and industrial practices in Timor-Leste. The team will continue to work to ensure that national policies and legislation comply with WTO legal standards and fulfil the commitments made by Timor-Leste in the accession process to the organization. Over a hundred diplomas are expected to be prepared by the country in the post-accession period.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala expressed satisfaction with the speed demonstrated by the national effort to meet the requirements for adherence. The Vice Prime Minister emphasised the enormous and historic achievement for its efficiency and thanked the presence of the President of the Republic, José Ramos-Horta, at the solemn ceremony of the signing. In the absence of the Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, the President travelled in his place.

This moment marks a significant advancement for Timor-Leste towards a more global participation in trade and its international economic integration. The signing ceremony of Timor-Leste’s adhesion to the WTO was broadcast live and was watched by over a million people worldwide.

Scroll to Top