Since November 2014, we have been assisting the Union of Comoros in its WTO accession negotiations, in a project funded by DFID's Trade Advocacy Fund. The accession process is still at a relatively early stage; the latest milestone being the submission of the Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime to the WTO in July 2013.
As part of the project, the following results have already been achieved:
- Working Procedures for the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) have been finalised. The TNC is the Comoros’ body in charge of steering the WTO accession process as well as other trade negotiations; it comprises representatives of the public and private sectors;
- Initial offers for goods and services have been developed in cooperation with the Comoros’ TNC, and these are planned to be submitted to the WTO before summer 2015;
- A number of trainings have been completed, including on trade negotiations, trade remedies, subsidies, SPS and TBT issues, and the special and differential treatment of developing countries;
- A number of background notes on specific topics have been prepared, such as the treatment of sensitive products for Muslim countries, such as alcohol, pork meat and tobacco.
Important tasks which remain for the project include further support in relation to the rules dimension of WTO accession, as well as assistance to the Government related to the first WTO Working Party meeting, scheduled to take place in September 2015.