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Kazakhstan's strive for joining OECD dictated by political ambitions

Business Materials 2 July 2011 16:53
Kazakhstan's strive for joining OECD dictated by political ambitions

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 2 / Trend E. Ostapenko /
The decision to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is dictated by the political ambitions of Kazakhstan. It is economically unjustified, the experts said.

The country's intention to become an OECD member was voiced by Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov after the meeting with OECD head Jose Angel Gurria in France.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry has been already instructed to form a working group on elaborating the visa-free regime with the countries of the organization.

"I consider Masimov's statement as a part of general course taken by Kazakhstan in foreign policy," the analyst at Economist Intelligence Unit in London Alice Mummery told Trend. Kazakhstan actively tries to increase its role in regional and international sphere. Of course, the membership in the OECD would help it."
Kazakhstan is represented in many international political and economic organizations, the CSTO, SCO, OSCE, OIC, TurkPA, as well as various UN institutions. Astana hosted the OSCE summit in December last year. It became the center of world politics for two days.

Kazakhstan obtained the annual presidency of the OIC, the influential structure in the Islamic world, in late June.

The Customs Union of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus has begun operating since July 1. Kazakhstan also strives for membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), where the country has an observer status. The negotiations on accession have been conducted for nearly 15 years.

Kazakh economist Magbat Spanov thinks that though the desire of joining various associations serve the image of the country, it is economically unjustified, as the membership in any organization involves a payment of membership dues.

"It does not worth hurrying to become a member of numerous organizations," Spanov told Trend. "It is better to start working on a substantial part in the bodies where Kazakhstan has been already represented. Though this inner work is less visible, but it will be much better for the country than loud statements."

He added that the work on WTO accession must be a priority, as it will give concrete benefits, namely, improving the delivery of Kazakh goods to the world markets, increasing its competitiveness, developing entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan, attracting investments and ensuring economic growth.

Mummery said that Kazakhstan has a chance to join the OECD, but only if we talk about the long term prospect.

The requirements for joining the OECD are very strict. They include "the obligation to develop a pluralistic democracy based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, the adherence to the principles of an open market economy and the common goal of sustainable development."

"Although Kazakhstan has recently reached progress on several of these areas, but it is not enough to satisfy the requirements of joining the organization," Mummery added.

The OECD consists of 34 most developed countries, including most of the EU member-states. About 60 percent of world GDP falls to the share of the member-states.

The OECD carries out extensive analytical work, makes recommendations to member-countries and serves as a platform for multilateral negotiations on economic issues. The organization's activity is also associated with combating money laundering, tax evasion, corruption and bribery.

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