Azerbaijan Considers Draft on Joining World Trade Organization

Business Materials 17 October 2007 12:03

Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr. I.Khalilova / The Azerbaijani State Commission on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) submitted the envisaged draft establishment of the Council, as well as implementation of other national measures to accelerate membership to the WTO, Mikhail Jabbarov, the deputy Minister of Economic Development, said.

"We hope to hold negotiations with the Task Group on joining WTO in Geneva by the end of 2007. We have agreed some changes to the legislation with the government and submitted them to the Presidential Administration," Jabbarov said.

There are nine measures taken in the draft. The purpose of these measures is to make legislation correspond with demands of WTO, as well as to hold bilateral and multilateral negotiations with WTO country-partners.

" Azerbaijan should complete negotiations with 26 countries united in the Task Group on joining the WTO, and sign a protocol," the deputy minister said. The protocol has already been concluded with Turkey, and agreed with Oman, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates and Moldova.

The other direction of the draft is to agree issues in order to promote access for foreign trade and services to the Azerbaijani market. Proposals on services have been developed. Proposals on tariffs on imported commodities will be developed in the near future.

The negotiation group for Azerbaijan joining the WTO held a non-official meeting with the Task Group in Geneva on 21 June. Experts from WTO member-countries insist upon familiarizing with the trade regime of the country. Azerbaijan has not responded to 7 to 10 questions out of 100 asked by WTO member-countries. Issues concerning prices, taxes and customs in the country.

Azerbaijan held four meetings with the WTO. Two of them were dedicated to the foreign trade regime. The other two were dedicated to full-scale discussions and negotiations on joining the WTO. Bilateral negotiations are being held on promoting access for foreign trades and services to the Azerbaijani market, as well as multilateral negotiations being held to gain support in agriculture and export of subsidies in this sector.

Azerbaijan has been represented in the WTO as an observer since 1997.