Algeria-WTO – Progress of Negotiations Not Remarkable’- Minister


The process of negotiations between Algeria and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has not remarkably changed, Minister of Trade Bakhti Belaïb stressed Wednesday in Algiers, advocating a “clear vision “on the rights the country must claim.

“I have tried in recent weeks to provide an update on this issues (accession of Algeria to the WTO) and make a comparison between the state in which I left it 16 years ago and today: changes are not remarkable,” he said at a workshop on WTO Agreements relating to sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade.

“At the time when I was in charge of explaining the WTO agreements and the challenge for Algeria to join it, I was not understood because we did not master this issue,” he added, stressing the need to intensify the actions of information and popularization in this direction.

Moreover, in his statement to the press on the sidelines of the workshop, the Minister said he was “happy” because Algeria does not want to join this global organization “anyhow,” considering that negotiations must still be consolidated.

In response to a question on the negotiations and their non completion, the minister said that this matter does not concern only the government but also the Algerian people.

Asked about the date of the next round of WTO negotiations, Belaïb, who did not want to give details, merely said: “Before the next meeting, we should first have a clear vision on how we negotiate and the rights we should demand.”

In this regard, he stressed the Algerian working group negotiations for accession to the WTO would be strengthened to better carry out this process and better protect the rights of Algeria even after its accession to this world organization.

Present in this workshop, held Wednesday and Thursday, Gretchen Stanton, Senior Counselor in the Agriculture and Commodities Division of the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO), noted the length of negotiations between Algeria and the organization while welcoming efforts made so far.

“I see that the negotiation process has made great strides but each time it stops. There are periods of silence,” she said, adding that two aspects were still to be finalized.

For his part, Director of Economic Relations and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Merzak Belhimeur said it was not understandable that Algeria has still not acceded to the WTO since all these years of negotiations.

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Source: Algerie Presse Service

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