Monday, July 15, 2013

Ethiopia and the World Trade Organization

An official in Ethiopia's Ministry of Trade announced on 10 July 2013 that Ethiopia expects to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) by 2015.  Ethiopia first applied in 2003 and reopened negotiations in 2011.  There have been several sticking points, including Ethiopia's unwillingness to permit international banking and to open up the telecommunications sector. 

BBC radio interviewed me on 15 July 2013 concerning Ethiopia's request to join the WTO.  While I emphasized that negotiations are continuing between Ethiopia and the WTO Working Party, I thought it unlikely the Ministry of Trade would make such an announcement unless there had been significant progress in resolving the concerns about Ethiopia's request for membership.

For additional background on this subject, see Reuters' 10 July 2013 "Ethiopia Expected to Join WTO in 2015: Ministry" by Aaron Maasho and the Financial Times' 10 July 2013 "Ethiopia: We Live in WTO Hope" by Rob Minto.  For an update on this topic, see Bloomberg's 15 July 2013 article titled "Ethiopia Plans to Make WTO Offer on Services by September" by William Davison. 

For a list of the 159 current members of the WTO, click "Members and Observers."

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