Capacity Building and Assistance to Comoros and Sudan in Acceding to the WTO

Sector/ Subsector : Trade Policy

Implementing Agency: UNCTAD

Project’s Partner(s) : Egypt, Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Swedish International Cooperation Agency (Sida), ITFC, IsDB, UNDP

Brief Description: UNCTAD assisted Comoros and Sudan in preparatory works for negotiations of their WTO
Membership. That includes among others drafting and review for required accession documents, in particular the
Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR), replies to questions raised by WTO Members in the context of
Comoros MFTR examination.



Overall ResultUNCTAD provided technical assistance and capacity building to support the accession of Comoros and Sudan in their WTO membership. The MFTR of Comoros was reviewed and completed. Up 160 replies to questions by the WTO Working Party Members prepared. An advisory and fact finding mission to identify Sudan’s Technical assistance needs was conducted. A national workshop for accession issues was organised with the involvement of all Sudanese stake holders. A detailed work program on future assistance activities to be carried out by UNCTAD was adopted. But was not implemented due shortage of funds under AFTIAS in 2015.
Target Countries:Comoros and Sudan
Duration: 09 months09 months
Start date: March 2014
End date:December 2014
Expected Results: WTO Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime finalized and accession docs prepared
Expected impact: Effective support to Comoros and Sudan to adopt WTO consistent trade policy and to meet WTO accession requirements.
Approved budget:$ 213,239
List of deliverables

1- WTO Memorandum on foreign trade regime (MFTR) is finalized (Comoros)/Updated in case of Sudan

2- WTO Accession related documents are reviewed and revised

3- Inventory and analysis of existing trade related legislative and regulatory instrument prepared and recommendations formulated, including provision of trade advisory support services

4- Elaboration of “legislative action plan”.

5- Research and compilation of sectoral economic data to prepare the following statutory WTO accession questionnaires and notification documents are completed.

Deliverable 1:

  • Comoros: MFTR of finalized and submitted to WTO Secretariat.
  • Sudan Advisory and technical mission to Khartoum, conducted by UNCTAD on 20 Jan.2015. Road map on the update of MFTR and other related accession documents agreed during a consultative meeting in presence of the Minister of Trade and Members of the Secretariat of the National Committee on Sudan’s WTO accession.

Deliverable 2:

  • Comoros: 160 replies to Questions from WTO Members prepared and reviewed. A validation 2-day national workshop was organized 16-17 Dec. 2014.
  • Sudan: A detailed work program indicating activities and documents to be prepared including WTO consistent legislative action plan was discussed and agreed during a national workshop organized by UNCTAD in Khartoum (21-22 Jan.2015)

Deliverable 3:

  • Comoros: A revised note on WTO accession process of Comoros in the context of the review of country’s Diagnostic Trade Information Study (DTIS), including a road map and detailed work program for the next phases of the accession process was prepared and delivered to the Ministry of trade.
  • Sudan: Recommendations on the update of WTO accession docs were discussed and formulated at the closing of the above mentioned national workshop. Work Programwas submitted to UNCTAD and to the Chair of the AFTIAS to seek fund for the implementation of activities in 2015. Up to date, no action was taken by AFTIAS board on this matter.
  • An analytical and strategic paper on the accession of Comoros and Sudan as LDCs under the WTO General Council Decision of Jul.2012 on revised guidelines related to the LDCs accession was prepared and delivered with specific policy and operational recommendations to both countries

Deliverable 4:

  • Comoros: UNCTAD provided technical advice to the national team to assist in the compilation of the trade -related legislation and regulations. However, it was felt necessary in view of the scarcity of available data and docs to recruit a national consultant to complete the task. A recommendation to this effect was formulated by UNCTAD in its final report Dec. 2014 but, additional funding under AFTIAS was not granted for 2015 work plan.
  • Sudan: Has submitted the legislative action plan on 30 June 2004. An update of the initial document was necessary. A recommendation to this effect was formulated by UNCTAD in its final report Dec. 2014 but, additional funding under AFTIAS was not granted for 2015 work plan.
  • Comoros: This work concerning sectoral data was achieved as part of the MFTR drafting and review as well as in the process of the preparation for the replies to WTO Members questions as mentioned under deliverable 2.
  • Sudan: submitted most of the notifications (ACC forms on Agriculture, services IP, and TBT/SPS) between 2003 and 2006. Therefore there is a need for updated docs. A recommendation to this effect was formulated by UNCTAD in its final report Dec. 2014 but, additional funding under AFTIAS was not granted for 2015 work plan.
Main Lessons learnt:Lesson 1: Sudan :

Important delay in the reaction to UNCTAD proposed work plan for activities to take place in the reporting period.

Lesson 2: Comoros :

– Weak institutional and administrative setting to supervise the WTO accession preparatory work

– Slow response from the ministry of trade regarding the implementation of the project activities.

Recommendation (s) for follow-up:
  • Comoros is at relatively early stage of its accession negotiation and needs substantive backstopping and capacity building in trade related and WTO issues.
  • Sudan has initiated its accession process back in 1994. However for non-trade considerations its accession process is considered as “frozen”. Therefore the nature of the support it needs consists mainly in updating its WTO accession documents and training a new generation of trade negotiators. Additional funding under AFTIAS is needed for the next phases of the accession process of both countries on a priority basis, being LDCs.