Accession of Liberia to the World Trade Organisation: 1st December 2015

The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry)
My noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Investment (Lord Maude of Horsham) has today made the following statement.

I wish to inform the House that on 3 November 2015 the Government opted in to the Council decision relating to the accession of Liberia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The Council decision has the effect of extending to Liberia the horizontal commitments the UK makes to all WTO members, including in the provision of services by natural persons from third countries, otherwise known as “Mode 4”. It is the presence of these Mode 4 commitments in the relevant instruments which triggers the UK Justice and Home Affairs opt-in.

The Government have supported the accession of Liberia to the WTO on the right terms. In acceding to the WTO, Liberia will embrace a series of rules and commitments which form the foundation of an open, transparent and non-discriminatory global trading system and which will provide important guarantees for them and for other WTO members. Accession to the WTO will bring Liberia more firmly into the global economy and help make Liberia a more attractive place to do business.

Liberia’s accession to the WTO is consistent with the UK’s policy of helping least developed countries (LDC) to take advantage of the international trading system. The Liberian accession, due to be formally agreed at the 10th WTO ministerial conference in Nairobi, will also send a broader positive signal to the wider developing world, with an African LDC acceding to the WTO at the first ministerial conference to be held in Africa.