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Laos ratifies WTO membership, say state media

Published on Dec 7, 2012 2:07 PM

BANGKOK (AFP) - Laos has ratified its membership of the World Trade Organisation, state media said on Friday, the latest step in the small Southeast Asian nation's 15-year effort to join the global body.

The Laotian parliament on Thursday formally gave its approval, paving the way for the country's entrance to the 157-member organisation in early 2013, according to a report in the government mouthpiece Vientiane Times.

It said most lawmakers "supported the government's decision to join the WTO, saying it was a golden opportunity for Laos to benefit from market liberalisation".

The WTO General Council gave its approval for Laotian membership in October, with the organisation's chief Pascal Lamy saying the landlocked communist country had "come a long way since it embarked on the road to membership in 1997".

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