Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 27 / Trend M. Aliyev, A. Akhundov /
Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev called for local entrepreneurs to participate more actively in the process of Azerbaijan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"Joining the WTO is important for Azerbaijan. We must expand cooperation with the European Union in this sphere", he said at the conference "Accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO: International experiences".
He said that there is no contradiction that Azerbaijan, being a developing country, becomes a donor country. As a similar example, he cited the experience of India and South Korea.
"We have the opportunity to provide human resources and render technical support for neighboring countries," Mammadguliyev said.
Speaking at the conference, the head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia said that Azerbaijan is a key partner for the EU.
"Joining the WTO will allow Azerbaijan to diversify its economy and enter European markets", Kobia said.
He said that Azerbaijan is the EU 39-th partner in terms of turnover, but the EU is the first for Azerbaijan.
"More than 40 percent of Azerbaijan's trade turnover fall to Europe," Kobia said.
He said that the EU program "Generalized System of Preferences +" ("GSP +") will expand the possibilities of cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
At present, Azerbaijan is in the process of negotiations with the United States, Japan, Brazil, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, European Union, Norway, India, South Korea, Chinese province of Taiwan within accession to the WTO. Switzerland joined this list in 2009.
At present, negotiations are under completion. The protocols were signed with Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Georgia. The country is in the process of signing the protocol with Moldova. It still considers the document, while Kyrgyzstan has already agreed to sign it.
Recently, the WTO Secretariat has extended the working group on Azerbaijan by including four more countries - Ukraine, Brazil, Ecuador and Switzerland. As a result, the total number of members of the working group reached 32, including 27 EU countries.
A working group on Azerbaijan under the WTO secretariat was established on July 16, 1997. Azerbaijan has been represented at the World Trade Organization as an observer since 1997.