We have recently started a project to assist the Union of Comoros, a least developed country (LDC), in its bid to accede to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The accession process started seven years ago, and the initial step was completed in July 2013 when Comoros submitted its Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime to the WTO.

The next stages of the accession process are the exchanges of questions and answers between the WTO members and the Government of Comoros on its foreign trade regime, holding the first WTO Working Party meeting in Geneva, and the preparation by Comoros of initial offers for goods and services as well as other documentation. These will then trigger the start of actual bilateral negotiations of the conditions of accession between WTO members and Comoros. 

The objective of the project, which is funded by the Trade Advocacy Fund, is to ensure an effective participation of Comorian officials in these upcoming stages of WTO accession negotiations. This will be achieved through technical assistance and capacity building focussing on the following key outputs: development of a strategy and roadmap for Comoros’ WTO accession negotiations; an improved institutional structure for managing WTO accession; enhanced technical and negotiating capacity of Comorian key policymakers and negotiators; increased awareness of and wider stakeholder participation in the WTO accession process; and assistance related to Comoros’ first WTO Working Party meeting.

The project is scheduled to be completed in June 2015.