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WTO approves membership for Tajikistan

The World Trade Organization on Monday approved Tajikistan's 11-year struggle to join the UN's global trade body, paving the way for the Central Asian nation to become its 159th member, AFP reports.

Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon hailed the move at a ceremony in Geneva, describing it as "a landmark in Tajikistan's history."

The country will become an official member 30 days after it ratifies the deal, something it must do by June 7, 2013, the WTO said.

The decision to allow Tajikistan to become only the second Central Asian nation to join the UN's trade body after Kyrgyzstan was expected after a WTO working group approved its entry terms in October.

As part of the accession accord, Tajikistan agreed to undertake a series of commitments to further open its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy.

The country, which has been seeking WTO membership since 2001, has agreed for instance to apply a maximum average import tariff of 8.0 percent, with no additional duties or charges.

Tajikistan also pledged to remove practices which limited rights to import goods, and to apply WTO commitments uniformly across the country, including in special economic zones and border regions.

Rahmon said applying to join the WTO had been "the right step forward for Tajikistan as it transforms itself into a market economy," insisting the membership would help foster "economic growth and prosperity."

WTO director general Pascal Lamy also hailed the deal, pointing out that for Tajikistan it signified "a road leading to the world economy."

"For the WTO, it is another step towards universality and a sign of confidence in the values and benefits of the multilateral trading system," he added.
12 december 2012, 16:38
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