Is it time for Bhutan to join WTO?

Published on Apr 29 2009 // Main News

Thimphu, April 29, 2009: The new elected government starts mulling over joining the World Trade Organization to benefit from the international trade. 

Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) submitted a report to the council of minister suggesting country must decide joining the world trade bench when conditions are friendly to the least developed countries created by the Doha round. 

Before as well, the government and the experts expected that Bhutan could join the trade body by 2009. The new proposal also hinted at joining WTO by end this year or early next years if government takes it seriously. 

The proposal said delaying accession process would turn the achievements made so far in that direction meaningless and that Bhutan’s image of a committed and serious negotiator would suffer.

The cabinet has asked suggestions from Centre for Bhutan Studies, led by Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley and the Gross National Happiness Commission before taking final decision.

The report claims there is no big loss or gain for Bhutan from joining WTO but it would promote good governance. Though the WTO sanctions high tariff on agricultural products, the report says that will not hamper the meager agriculture of the country.