Negotiations with EU and US to Join WTO Postponed: Deputy Minister

Business Materials 26 September 2007 13:50 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr. I.Khalilova / Azerbaijan is not ready to continue bilateral negotiations with the EU and the US on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October.

The Azerbaijani Government has not submitted conditional proposals for joining the organization to the EU and US, Mahmud Mammadguliyev, the deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, said.

Tariffs obligations are a relevant issue in the negotiation process of Azerbaijan with the EU and the US. The proposals developed by the State Customs Committee of the country may be submitted to WTO member-countries after their agreement by the Agriculture and Industry and Energy Ministries.

"Delay in bilateral negotiations may affect the term of the next round of negotiations with the Task Group of WTO, as it is one of the main conditions. If the EU and US experts meet in November then negotiations with WTO's Task Group may be held in Geneva in December 2007," the deputy Minister said.

The first bilateral negotiations with the EU were held in Brussels on 24 May and in the US on 20 June.

Besides the tariff policy the main issue for negotiation concerns liberalization of services. The EU and the US are offering to open markets in the financial sector, communication sector, in distribution services and other spheres.

The EU and the US have differences in the audio visual market. Azerbaijan proposed to make changes to the land legislation. In compliance with current land legislation land may be rented by Azerbaijani citizens for 99 years, however, foreigners have no right to purchase land.

Differences remain in construction and architectural services. The US is demanding the removal of limits imposed on foreign companies in the construction market.

The EU and US are also demanding the removal of limits on the opening of braches of foreign banks in the country.