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Kazakhstan completes WTO accession negotiations

12 june 2015, 16:31
©Tengrinews illustration
©Tengrinews illustration

After 19 years of negotiations, Kazakhstan and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have finally agreed on the terms of accession of the Central Asian state to the organization, Tengrinews reports citing the WTO.

The terms were finalized at the Working Party meeting on June 10. Kazakhstan submitted its application on 29 January 1996.

Members of the Working Party called those "one of the most challenging negotiations" in the history of the WTO.

&ldquoI congratulate WTO members and the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the historic step taken today to conclude the accession negotiations of Kazakhstan and finalize its WTO Accession Package. I look forward to welcoming Kazakhstan to the WTO,&rdquo said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.

The World Trade Organization said that the complexity of negotiations was related to the need to do a lot of tariff adjustments due to Kazakhstan&rsquos membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, that is also a trade union. This was the major impediment on the way of Kazakhstan&rsquos accession into the WTO.

It is worth noting that only one day before the agreement was reached, the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan reported that specific timelines regarding Kazakhstan's accession to the WTO could not be identified until the country bargained itself more favorable terms.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, agriculture was among the stumbling blocks of the negotiations: market access for agricultural goods, domestic support for agriculture, as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Measures of state support for agriculture were under question as well, since the position of the Kazakh side in the negotiations was &ldquoto get the maximum amount of domestic support."

It appears now that the government was finally content with the terms being offered. The draft Accession Package will be officially approved on June 22 and then forwarded to the General Council for formal adoption by all 161 WTO members.

By Dinara Urazova

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