Tajikistan Pushing to Conclude WTO Accession

• Category: Tajikistan
MOSCOW (Tax-News.com, Tatiana Smolenskaya) – Tajikistan is entering the final stage of its submission to achieve membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has so far held eight rounds of negotiations on a bilateral basis with nations that have sought to discuss tariff and market access provisions for inclusion in its final accession package.

The Working Party on the accession of Tajikistan was established by the General Council on 18 July 2001. Multilateral work is proceeding on the basis of a draft Working Party Report (latest revision circulated in February 2012). Bilateral market access negotiations are underway on the basis of revised offers in goods and services. The Working Party held its sixth meeting in July 2011 to continue the examination of Tajikistan’s foreign trade regime.

As part of ongoing bilateral market access negotiations, the latest held in the week ending August 17, Tajikistan has agreed to lower tariffs on cooking equipment, refrigerators, ovens and water heaters in discussions to gain Thailand's backing. Earlier, the Tajikistan government confirmed that it had concluded negotiations with Japan, and had received support from the nation for its accession in an agreement signed on July 31, 2012. A total of seventeen of Tajikistan's 90 trading partners are interesting in negotiating terms bilaterally.

During this meeting, for the first time, a draft Working Party Report was tabled, identifying areas needing improvement before Tajikistan can join the global trade body. Members identified that progress was needed in areas such as anti dumping, trading rights, Tajikistan's investment regime, import licensing, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, intellectual property rights, and services.

WTO members, meeting as the General Council on 25 July 2012, formally approved new guidelines to enable least developed countries to negotiate membership of the WTO more quickly and easily.

All WTO members have joined the system as a result of negotiation and therefore membership means a balance of rights and obligations. They enjoy the privileges that other member-countries give to them and the security that the trading rules provide. In return, they had to make commitments to open their markets and to abide by the rules – those commitments were the result of the membership (or accession) negotiations. Countries negotiating membership are WTO observers.