Azerbaijan, Baku, March 4 / Trend I.Khalilova /
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat has extended the working group on Azerbaijan by including four more countries, the Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry reported.
"The secretariat included Ukraine, Brazil, Ecuador and Switzerland to the working group on Azerbaijan, "the source said.
The total number of members of the working group had reached 32, including 27 EU countries.
The WTO secretariat established the working group on Azerbaijan July, 16, 1997.
Azerbaijan has been represented in WTO as supervisor since 1997. The country is currently preparing to the 8th round of negotiations on accession to the WTO, and has already made proposals in services field for the U.S., EU, Japan and South Korea.
Azerbaijan seeks to join the WTO with the status of a developing country, which will allow the country to provide greater financial support to the agricultural sector. In this case the country will be able to keep subsidizing at the level of 10 percent of GDP produce in agriculture.
At present, subsidies for Azerbaijan's agricultural sector are on average of 14-15 percent. Given the agriculture field's great need in support, Azerbaijan refuses to enter the WTO as a developed country, what the United States particularly insisted, as it will provide access to subsidies at the level of five percent.
The next eighth round of negotiations on the country's joining the WTO could take place in the first half of 2010, but it is necessary to provide timely answers to questions, and to hold bilateral negotiations. The country should provide answers to the WTO Secretariat 1-1.5 months prior to the appointment of the next meeting.
At present, Azerbaijan is in the process of negotiations with the United States, Japan, Brazil, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, European Union, Norway, India, South Korea, Taiwan Province of China. This year Switzerland joined the list in 2009.
Currently, negotiations were completed and protocols were signed with Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman and United Arab Emirates. The country is at the stage of signing protocol with Moldova, which still considers the document. Kyrgyzystan and Georgia have agreed, and this procedure could take place at the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission.
Azerbaijan has been represented in WTO as supervisor since 1997.
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