WTO member states asking Azerbaijan to cut tariffs, says deputy FM
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 24
Azerbaijan will prepare new proposals on tariffs for industrial and agricultural products as part of the talks on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev told Trend June 24.
"The WTO member states, including the US, the EU countries, Norway, propose Azerbaijan, within their interests, to cut bound tariffs on goods imports. This includes a large number of industrial and agricultural products," he said.
The bound tariff is the maximum customs duty rate on the import of certain goods, set within the country's commitments at the WTO. It can't be changed by the importing country unilaterally.
Mammadguliyev said that as part of preparation for the next round of talks on accession to the WTO, the Azerbaijani government should also introduce a new list on domestic support to agriculture, taking into account the changes in the country's agro-industrial sector in 2012-2014.
He said the answers to the questions from the WTO member states should also be sent to the organization's secretariat.
"Given that the preparation of all these documents will take time, the next meeting of the working group, the bilateral negotiations with the WTO member states and the multilateral meeting on the agriculture can be held in autumn in the best case scenario," said the deputy minister.
Previously, it was expected that the bilateral and multilateral negotiations will be held in summer.
The last meeting was held in March 2015 in Geneva.
Mammadguliyev earlier said that the main topic of discussions certainly was the issue of domestic support to the agricultural sector.
"Azerbaijan once again stressed how much it is important for us to develop the agriculture as a main sphere of the country's non-oil sector," he said.
Azerbaijan reiterated its position on the issues related to the support to the agricultural sector, according to the deputy minister.
"A number of countries said they understand the importance of developing the agricultural sector in Azerbaijan, while some countries believe that we provide this sector with very large volume of subsidies," he said.
Mammadguliyev added that this amount is fully consistent with the provisions of the WTO agreement on agriculture applicable to the states joining the organization as developing ones.