Azerbaijani Customs intends to protect high import rates upon entry into WTO
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 10
By Emin Aliyev- Trend:
Azerbaijani Customs intends to preserve high rates on imports of various goods when joining the World Trade Organization, Chief of Main Finance-Tariff and Currency Control Office of the State Customs Committee, Mirgasim Vahabov told Trend.
"Our proposals are to preserve the bound tariff on favorable level, and this will be discussed at the forthcoming negotiations on WTO accession with eight countries. We are talking about the maximum possible rates in the range of 20-25 percent [proposed by Azerbaijan] depending on the type of imported products," he said.
Bound-tariff is the maximum rate of customs duty for the import of certain goods specified in the country's obligations under the WTO, which can not be changed by the importing country unilaterally. If the country, applies its customs tariff rates by introducing a higher rate than it was prescribed, then the exporting-countries have the right to request cancellation of the rate or the provision of adequate compensation, for example in the form of reduction by the importing country of the customs tariff on other goods.
Vahabov went on to say that agriculture sphere is one of the sensitive ones, regarding the issue.
"Azerbaijan is actively developing the agricultural sector: the production volumes for a number of products are already equal to the volume of imports. Therefore, it is important to keep rates at the maximum highest level in order to protect local producers. The volume of agricultural output grows and imports gradually reduce, which makes the issue more relevant," Vahabov said.
The final solution will be found in the course of bilateral negotiations, according to the chief of the office.
"Different countries offer different maximum tariffs plank on the import of the product types in which they are interested. Of course each of our foreign partners interested in how to provide access for their producers in the new markets. And it concerns not only agricultural but also industrial products and the scope of services," he added.
Azerbaijan strives for a developing country status in the multilateral negotiations on WTO membership. Developing country status allows the country to rely on the 10-percent level of agricultural subsidies versus five percent for developed countries.
Azerbaijan has an observer status at the World Trade Organization since 1997. The working Group on Azerbaijan under the WTO secretariat was established on July 16, 1997.
Azerbaijan started negotiations in 2004. The next week-long round of bilateral negotiations with WTO members will begin June 30. Meeting of the working group is scheduled for late October-early November.
Edited by SI