OP-ED

Knowledge forum organizes debate on Yemen Accession to the WTO

National Yemen

knowledge forum members in a group picture

By NY Sfatt

In its weekly session on 1st of May , the Knowledge Forum has organized its second debate which was assigned

to discuss Yemen’s accession to WTO. The debate was titled “Yemen accession to WTO improves investment and trade  environment and enhance economic development.”

The target of the debate was to shed light on potential benefits, as parliament has ratified the protocol of accession and accession package a week ago. Yemen would be a WTO member number 160 one month after filing ratification at the WTO.

It is worth mentioning that Yemen has gone through a strenuous and prolonged process which lasted 13 years, until the adoption of the protocol of accession by the MC9, the highest authority in WTO, in Bali, Indonesia on 4 December 2013.

The first team consisted of  Dr. Hamoud Ali Al-Najar, Chief of Communication and Coordination Office with WTO, and Kamal Al-Khameri, Director-General of Trade Agreements and Areas. The second team consisted of Dr. Abdulbaqi Al-Zaeemi, lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture at Sana’a University, and Ahmed Shamakh, researcher.

The first team confirmed the new horizon of Yemen accession to WTO and support that Yemen would receive in building its capacities to emerge in the world economy. The team pointed out that Yemen has already liberalized its market even before Yemen accession to WTO without any privileges, while the accession constitutes a recognition of the reforms that Yemen have implemented.

The second team raised the issue of whether the timing of accession was wise, taking into account the political and security situation the country is going through. They also highlighted the weakness of legislative institutions and the absence of effective interventions from the government. They also confirmed the importance of focusing on the post-accession phase, especially on workforce habilitation and work towards penetrating regional markets in light of the preferences the WTO agreements provide.

At the end of the debate, the forum allowed a word by Huib Poot, Team Leader of EU Trade-related Assistance Projects for Yemen in the post-accession period. He confirmed the importance of Yemen’s accession and the need to implement required reforms to grasp the benefits that accession provides.

The first team won 170 points, winning handily over the second, which only got 30. The debate was run by Mahmoud al-Naqeeb, Director-General of Consumer Protection, Osama Al-Shami, Head of a Micro-Finance unit, Adnan Qatina, Training Consultant, and Solaiman AlAdhabi, Training Consultant.

The forum also has had a presentation by Ibrahim Al-Hemyari, Director of Executive Innovation in One Graphics Company. He discussed his company’s services in the field of improving company customer relations in developing websites and digital services.