Facilitating accessions: The role of the working party chairperson

What is the role of the chairperson of a working party? What instruments can he or she use to manage the complexities of the WTO accession process? Typically, WTO accession negotiations are time consuming because of extensive domestic legislative and institutional reforms, which need to be aligned with economic development strategies. These reforms focus on the tough questions of eliminating trade barriers, improving governance, tackling corruption and enforcing the rule of law through WTO-consistent legislation. Formally, the function of the chairperson is to preside over working party meetings. In practice, the chairperson works as part of a team with the WTO Secretariat, led by the Accessions Division, in seeking to identify the balance of interests and what the market can bear, and hence leading the working party to develop a common view of its purpose and shared responsibility.

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