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WTO calls on to speed up negotiations with Azerbaijan

25 July 2016 17:55 (UTC+04:00)
WTO calls on to speed up negotiations with Azerbaijan

By Nigar Abbasova

The head of the working group on the accession of Azerbaijan to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Walter Werner, has urged WTO-members and Azerbaijan to accelerate the pace of negotiations.

Werner commended Azerbaijan for its progress in bringing its trade regime in compliance with WTO rules during the new round of talks on the accession of the country to the organization, the WTO reported.

The next stage of talks on Azerbaijan’s joining the WTO started in Geneva on July 19. Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, who headed the delegation of Azerbaijan at the talks, gave thorough information about the adoption of a national strategic roadmap, aimed at diversifying the economy of Azerbaijan and tackling the challenges caused by the decline in international oil and gas prices.

Members of the working party expressed hope that Azerbaijan would complete its accession negotiations in the near future.

Werner recalled that progress in bilateral negotiations is essential to move the accession forward and urged members and Azerbaijan to maintain bilateral contacts in a proactive manner, with the aim of reporting progress at the next meeting of the working party.

Joining the WTO may give a number of privileges to Azerbaijan including greater access to international financial institutions, which in its turn may boost the economic well-being of the country.

Membership will open foreign markets to Azerbaijani goods, as well as support competition in domestic market.

Moreover, a country with the developing status can qualify for subsidies at a level of 10 percent of GDP while the figure stands at five percent for developed countries.

Azerbaijan has had an observer status at the WTO since 1997. Azerbaijan began negotiations with WTO member states in 2004. Currently, the country negotiates with 19 countries.

Azerbaijan's Working Party was established on 16 July 1997 and the First meeting of the Working Party was held in June 2002.

As of today, Azerbaijan has completed the negotiations and has signed protocols with Turkey, Oman, the UAE, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. The country is currently at the stage of signing protocols with China and Moldova.

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Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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