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Ethiopia responds to latest queries on WTO accession
By Kirubel Tadesse
The Ethiopian government has sent a reply to the latest round of 130 queries submitted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries. Demilew Mekonnen, WTO Affairs Department representative at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), said over one hundred of the queries came from the United States and the remainder from the European Union, and Canada.
The queries were forwarded in response to the Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) that Ethiopia submitted back in January 2007. Close to two hundred questions were first submitted from the US on Ethiopia's MFTR in the first round of queries.
Deputy US Trade Representative Ambassador Peter Allgeier said last Thursday at the US Embassy here in Addis Ababa: "The questions are focused on the degree to which commerce is able to be conducted in an open manner without discrimination whether it is in regulations or fees. "It is important that there is no discrimination between domestic and foreign providers of goods and services."
Ambassador Allgeier and Florizelle Liser, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa paid a visit to Ethiopia and the AU last week. The next step in Ethiopia's accession is expected to be the second meeting of the working party.
Established in February 2003 after Ethiopia filed an application for accession in January of the same year, the working party held its first meeting in May 2008 after the response to the first round of queries was submitted.
It was the WTO General Council that established the working party to examine Ethiopia's application. The MFTR circulated in January 2007 is also being examined by the working party.
Some influential members of the trading club, such as the US, have repeatedly called on Ethiopia to relax regulations and allow foreign participations in the financial and telecom sectors. For years, the Ethiopian government has kept these sectors closed and last year's National Bank regulations confirmed a strong intention to maintain the policy.
Recently, Girma Birru, Minister of Trade and Industry was quoted as explaining that Ethiopia intended to pursue membership of the WTO, despite having no plans to liberalise the two sectors.
After holding talks with senior officials, including the Prime Minister, Ambassador Allgeier, who is also the US Representative to WTO, said PM Meles expressed a desire to advance things more quickly.
"I think there is some tension between those two positions, so the question is can there be a balance that works for Ethiopia, but that is sufficiently ambitious that it works for other members of the WTO as well," Allgeier said. "Things like the telecom and financial sectors are the backbone of competitiveness. I will be hard pressed to find a country that is doing well internationally and that does not have strong, cost efficient telecommunications," Allgeier added in his briefing last Thursday, while also admitting that there is a foreign commercial interest in liberalisation. "Our hope is that as they talk about it, not with us only but also with others, Ethiopian officials will see the advantages of some degree of liberalisation on these services," Allgeier also said, adding that although Ethiopian concerns are reasonable, it is not a solution to close doors to foreign participation.
Some experts are citing 2013 as the ideal year for Ethiopia to gain accession to the WTO. However, such predictions in the past have proved inaccurate.
WTO Director-General, Pascal Lamy, who met senior officials in his visit to Addis Ababa last week, was quotes as saying he appreciated Ethiopia's efforts to gain accession and that the US and other key members expected lengthy and heated negotiations on the subject
U.S. tells Ethiopia to liberalize Telecom and Banking
Once Ethiopia becom a member of WTO..Ethiopia will loose her natural resourses,her cultur and will be exposed to odd culturs from out side world.
First Ethiopia need to project herslf,intensiv development,and preservation of natural assets then membership.
Ther are infact many developing nations like Ethiopia are members of WTO but they have zero economical roll in the organaisetion.
think think and think.
I love my country !
If Ethiopia becomes member of the WTO, her existence as a nation-state will be put in question. When the world economy is crumbling, I do not see any reason that the United States is urging the regime of Prime Minister Meles. After all America itself is in trouble due to this kind of free trade arrangements. Its industrial base has been destroyed over the last 30 years. America does not have any chance to rise up again.
For such a country like Ethiopia, whose economy is so weak, there is no any reason to join this organization. The regime does not have any legitimacy, and it is not written in the constitution that Ethiopia should become a member of any international organization. If it is in our country’s interest, the Ethiopian people and the parliament must debate over such kinds of issues.
While I don’t dispute the importance of weighing appropraitely the pros and cons when and how to open up the market for foreign competition (in the interest of not losing the domestic industry). If we would like to be treated on the same footing as other countries, we should at least have the courage to plan ahead so that we would be competitive at some specified point in time. Instead every time, an issue of liberalization or even privatization comes, there are a bunch of paranoid people commenting, how we (Ethiopia’s natural resource, culture etc..) gonna get exploited. What is pathetic about these claims, is that they often has no premises on which the claims stand on! To me it indicates the low expectation we have for ourselves that we will not be able to compete (even in the far future) with others. I wander how many of us really believe is myth that we have resource that foreigners are vying to snatch. If we have so much natural resource people would come anyway (legally or otherwise - case in point Congo Dem).
Comment from: Shewa Anbessa [Visitor]
Once Ethiopia becom a member of WTO..Ethiopia will loose her natural resourses,her cultur and will be exposed to odd culturs from out side world.
…..SO HOW HAS ETHIOPIA BENEFITED FROM BEGGING THE WEST FOR FOOD EVERY YEAR?
What natural resources will it Lose?
its “Coffee” being confiscated by it Government
I am sick of repairing and reading your awakward and terribly below the standard English. Have you not visited a school; a kind of high school or language schol??
becom, loose,cultur, Ethiopia need,intensiv, infact
economical organaisetion, and others. Please, when you come and join highly respected scholars like me, come clean. I mean you have to be a knowlegeable person of some sholarship.
lol @ hammere’s comment. I noticed taht a lot of the posts on this website are such bad English they make more sens if you translate them to Amharic in your head. Seriously, they are directly translating Amharic into English and that doesn’t really work.
Joining WTO is good ONLY if Ethiopia sets the term on the goods it likes to trade with. This will protect the the nation until it is capable & strong enough to produce, market, trade & establish its own brand (Coffee) in a World stage. The West wants to take out only raw materials not finished products. That means, skill will not develop and all will depend on outside supply of all things needed to development and modernization. I think the government must look into re-investment in the country FIRST.
Otherwise, it is like an amatur athlet to compete against Haile & Kenenisa. What would be good for Ethiopia is to start experimenting the effect of libralization by allowing its owen people to take charge of a sector of the Telecom & Financial institutions. Because it retains the power to tax it, regulate it and also encourage re-investment.
Finally, people with knowledge shall help the leadership before it is too late. Or, we will suffer when every thing fell under foreign supply & mercy.
Peace & Love to Ethiopia
Hammere are you kidding?Please let me know if you need legal representation to get your money from whatever school
you have gone to! You have obviously been robbed.
This is taken from the WTO website:
The ten benefits
1. The system helps promote peace
2. Disputes are handled constructively
3. Rules make life easier for all
4. Freer trade cuts the costs of living
5. It provides more choice of products and qualities
6. Trade raises incomes
7. Trade stimulates economic growth
8. The basic principles make life more efficient
9. Governments are shielded from lobbying
10. The system encourages good government
10 common misunderstandings about the WTO
1. The WTO dictates policy
2. The WTO is for free trade at any cost
3. Commercial interests take priority over development …
4. … and over the environment
5. … and over health and safety
6. The WTO destroys jobs, worsens poverty
7. Small countries are powerless in the WTO
8. The WTO is the tool of powerful lobbies
9. Weaker countries are forced to join the WTO
10. The WTO is undemocratic
It is also possible to read other things , tells about rules, patent…. One can anticipate who is going to be the most favored, who is going to have all the upper hand in any trade dispute, etc. The system is so carefully devised to benfit specific groups.
Almost the entire countries in Africa is a member state. Oh wait, scratch that, the entire world. Mind you accession to WTO is based on discussion with individual countries. I don’t know, Where Ethiopia get stuck? But if it is in the issues like privatizing the telecommunc. sector (which seems to be the case from the article above), I think Ethiopia is showing less commitment towards opening up the market. Mind you this is not foreigners coming in or anything. It is just preparing oneself for the inevitable. Or we can feel comfortable to be left behind as we are in many things (I don’t need to mention them).
All organizations and institutions such as IMF, World bank, WTO and the likes main task in Africa is keeping the continent as much as it goes the way it is and prospering the west. It is time the old trick in the name of international organizations and institutions has to stop as it is benefiting the regional (western). These institutions must to be rejected as they are the main cause to the worst economic crisis worldwide. The new way of world economic and politic order must take its place.
From now on we will talk and facilitate the post capitalism economic crisis not the old ones. Right now the world has no shortage of money, as it was 10,15 or 20 years a go. The world is no longer with shortage of knowledge, technology and anything from modern human as it was before when it was in the hands of the west.
So, IMF, World Bank and WTO never served Africa and it will not in the future. These are institutions created to prosper Europe post WWII. The president of IMF and World Bank must be always from USA or Europe. These are regional institutions to milk the rest of the world.
There fore, the Ethi gov and the rest of Africa need to wake up and free itself from these institutions. Inter Africa and Asia economic and technology interdependent must be created. These two huge continents have been tested with the same way of difficulties for so long. They are also geographically close to each other looking each other with brown eyes and black hair.
A country like Ethiopia which is geographically the centre of these two continents can benefit a lot plying rolls serving as the meeting centre. AA, which is the capital of Africa is in a close rage to the Middle East, India, china and the likes and can serve as a finance, political and other centres to the two continents. This must be the priority to the govt rather than selling own selves to the dead IMF, World Bank and WTO.
The Ethio govt and people need to realise that while the west with the English leadership is campaigning for long time intentionally destroying the Ethiopian Image, the people of the great china, India, Japan and the likes do respect, trust and admire the Ethiopian people and fill comfortable to be around us as we do towards them. The people of the Middle East also know very well about the Habesha people towards them through their Prophet. If we know how to be smart and active for the sake of our advantages, the future is on our hands by having fairness relationship with the above-mentioned nations and regions.
Don’t spend your valuable time and energy hanging with the idea of IMF, WB and WTO, which are serving darkness for Africa. Play with them the way they are playing with you.
Well, I am more of a sceptic when it comes to WTO in terms of its effectiveness to advance smaller/poorer member’s economy. The main players USA/EC have pretty much all the influence, should it be in dispute settlements, decision/policy making process, trade law, bargaining powers, what the Secretariat should get up to etc. Some can argue advantages in a sense that WTO being a better platform for poorer members to voice out their concerns and challenge heavyweight countries etc but that’s also up for debate.
I believe WTO is becoming less of a trade organisation and more of politically inclined, process of policy making and beneficiary to certain members.
I may need to run a SWOT analysis or something to judge properly lol … Having said that though, demand for liberalization of certain sectors in Ethiopia may have legitimate advantages as long as the country remains vigilant of who would have access to these sectors if we ever liberalize …
Huh? Just tell me you are joking please? Why on earth are you bothered with Shewa Anbessa’s English to the point where you feel the need to correct him relentlessly? Or shall I say repair him Surely, you understand the point he is trying to put across, right? Also your so called superior English will never make you a scholar, as most of your comments proved otherwise, time and again that you are extremely short-sighted, biased, loose cannon, typical TPLF to be considered a scholar.
Surely, a scholar wouldn’t advocate wrong doings at any cost, a scholar would have brain capacity to reason with and adopt more flexible ways of thinking? Mostly, a scholar wouldn’t advocate such contempt of Prime Minster to his own feeble kangaroo Parliament?
I suggest you practice what you’re preaching first plus just take a good look at you’re so called scholar standard grammar/language? Since when you repair a language or visit a school like it is some kind of holiday resort? Moreover, can you look at the way you spelt certain words again and honestly say you are any better? As the saying goes , Pot and kettle TPLF scholars are proving to be equivalents to high school dropouts.
Just take Bole’s advice
Gosh Addis Girl (Ambesit konjo)leklikachewn negerilgn !!
Land and property is our preciouse propeties. More over individual Ethiopians are units of investment, one can estimate how much profit can be made by dumping unhealthy processed food & drinks or other products right from one’s birth.
When one joins WTO there are rules of the game. These rules favors the technologically developed nations. They know that they beat any competition in any business. We know we are not advanced like them. Knowing this the moment we join, we are going to be out leaving every thing to the foreigners who become the first class citezens. You and I go to the slums and more slums that are going to be created in the future that are colorfully accompanied by crimes, homosexuality, identity crises, idividualism, official death of our belief system listening to the new cadres of preachers who advocate to eat pork and all those animals which are relegiously and culturally prohbited(some might like this but to the majority of us it is unacceptable), and many more. This is what we see in many African countries. They can do this and make money only if they own all such bussiness,such as banking , telecom, power, food and water processing industries, which work hand and glooves. It is sad when few Ethiopians support western domination, either they take part in the crime. I call it crime because millions of ppl are left out systematically from investing and benifiting. Instead few Ethiopians working with foreign richs dominate them. This is what we see in other African countries.
It is true that the number of internet users, broadband, …increases, banking services improve, etc etc. But this has to be seen from the long term impact on the country and the region.
“bilt kesew sihitet yemaral,mogne sew kerasu yemaral”
Once you loos your property and pass it to the foreigners, it is difficult to get them back or confisicate in time of unlawful acts like the recent coffee trade. These guys, are capable of changing governemets and making conflicts every where. So you sit back and watch them make what ever they want.
Why rush to join WTO? Why are the west and other investors pressuring ethiopian ppl to join WTO(precondition: liberalize)?, Is capitalism the only way out of poverty? What is the position of the opposition party in relation to privaatizaion of such sectors as telcome, airlines, banking, land?
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