Kazakhstan to join WTO after 20 years of talks

Kazakhstan has finished negotiating the terms of a deal to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), capping 20 years of efforts to take part in the world of mainstream commerce.

Kazakhstan to join WTO after 20 years of talks

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Kazakhstan has completed the negotiations needed to join the World Trade Organization, the Geneva-based trade body said in a statement, and is on track to become the 162nd WTO member by the end of the year.

Kazakhstan has spent the entire life of the 20-year-old WTO trying to join the body, and its candidacy gathered pace after its neighbour and close trade partner Russia joined in 2012.

Kazakhstan is part of the Eurasian Economic Union, a regional trade grouping that includes Russia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus and has common tariffs for imports from outside the bloc.

Discrepancies between its membership of the bloc, existing bilateral trade deals and the WTO membership terms agreed with Russia were the last main stumbling block, but a deal was finally agreed on Wednesday, the WTO said.

The WTO's attempts to deepen global trade reforms have made very little progress since it was founded in 1995, but efforts to broaden its membership and sign more countries up to the existing rules have proceeded apace.

The next joiners may be Afghanistan and Liberia, which are both on the brink of agreeing their membership terms, WTO Deputy Director-General David Shark said earlier this month.

Economies still outside the club include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Belarus, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Lebanon and Uzbekistan.

To join, a country has to agree terms bilaterally with every interested member, giving all existing WTO members an effective veto on any new membership.

It also has to bring its own laws into line with WTO rules, ensuring that trade partners can rely on it to enforce global trade disciplines, keep its tariffs within agreed limits, and not protect domestic producers by discriminating unfairly against competing imports.

The details of Kazakhstan's membership will remain confidential until the WTO's General Council formally adopts the deal on June 22. After that, Kazakhstan's government will need to ratify the agreement, and it will become a full WTO member 30 days after doing so.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Haziran 2015, 14:07