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Parliament must now ratify membership

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 18, 2011) – Samoa's membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been approved.

A three-day meeting of WTO trade ministers has also approved the membership of Montenegro, a former Yugoslav republic.

Samoa will have until June 2012 to ratify its membership through its own parliament.

Both Samoa and Montenegro will become full WTO member states 30 days after notifying the organisation their legislatures have endorsed membership.

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Lauofo said the accession was a milestone in the island's development. Joining the WTO will be beneficial for Samoa's economy, he said.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy said that Samoa was the fifth least-developed country (LDC) to join the multilateral trading system since 1995.

Mr Lamy said technical assistance and capacity building was crucial to empower countries like Samoa to get to a position to negotiate trade rules.

Radio Australia: http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/

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