Talks on Azerbaijan’s accession to WTO in progress
By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
The Azerbaijani government has sent new proposals - responses to questions of WTO member states within the framework of negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Mahmud Mammadguliyev, Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan.
“At this stage, negotiations with WTO member countries are conducted through correspondence. They send us their suggestions, and we reply,” Mammadguliyev told Report.
He added that the date of the next meeting in Geneva with WTO members has not yet been established.
“For the Azerbaijani government, the main aspect is the quality of negotiations, the compliance of the agreements reached with the criteria for economic development, the receipt of benefits provided for countries in the status of a developing country” he said.
Azerbaijan is negotiating on four main directions - goods (tariffs on agricultural and industrial products), trade in services, legislation improvement (bringing it in line with WTO requirements) and agriculture support (subsidization).
In accordance with the suggestion of the WTO secretariat, currently, Azerbaijan continues negotiations on the country's accession to the organization on a bilateral basis. So far, the meeting of the Azerbaijani delegation with the WTO working group was accompanied by both bilateral negotiations with the organization’s member countries and multilateral negotiations on agriculture.
Azerbaijan began negotiations with WTO member states in 2004. Currently, the country is in the process of negotiations with 13 countries. As of today, negotiations have been completed and protocols have been signed with Turkey, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. Azerbaijan is at the stage of signing protocols with China and Moldova.
Azerbaijan has recently implemented a number of reforms, including 12 strategic roadmaps for economic development; introduced changes in the regulation of trade, in the system of import customs tariffs; improved trade and logistics infrastructure. It is expected that the implementation of the road maps will serve as the basis for the successful accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO.
After receiving preliminary results from ongoing economic reforms in the country, which is expected until 2020, intensification of negotiations and completion of the process of Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO will be possible.
It is noteworthy that Azerbaijan has had an observer status at WTO since 1997. In July 1997, the Working Group on Azerbaijan under WTO Secretary was established.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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