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Cambodia looks set to join WTO soon

Issued: 21 June 2003

The European Union has completed market access talks with Cambodia in a first step towards Cambodia's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Following the signing ceremony in Geneva, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said he was confident that Cambodia would soon join the WTO, making it the first least developed country to join the WTO since its creation in 1995.

Cambodia applied to join the WTO in December 1994, but talks started, in effect, only in May 2001 with the first meeting with key trading partners such as the EU and the United States.

It is hoped that Cambodia will wrap up negotiations with the WTO in the months ahead in order that the country can join the global body at a ministerial meeting at Cancun, Mexico in September.

At the moment, there are nine "least developed" countries, including Cambodia's neighboring Laos queuing to join the WTO.



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