Baku, Azerbaijan, July 31
By Azad Hasanli – Trend:
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has called on Azerbaijan to step up bilateral talks with WTO members on market access commitments for goods and services in order to accelerate its efforts to secure WTO membership, says the organization’s message posted on its website.
The negotiations on Azerbaijan’s access into the WTO were held last week as part of the visit of Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev to Geneva.
The chair of the WTO’s working party on the accession of Azerbaijan, Ambassador Walter Werner (Germany), concluded a meeting of the working party by calling on Azerbaijan to “proactively engage and advance market access negotiations” with members and to focus in particular on bilateral market access talks, “whose progress, in my view, has fallen behind other areas of the accession negotiations”.
Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, the Azerbaijani deputy minister and Chief Negotiator, said his government intended to “concentrate on the bilaterals”, which he acknowledged as “one of the weak parts of our accession process”, as well as implement the legal reforms necessary to bring its domestic trading regime in line with WTO requirements.
He noted that Azerbaijan had undertaken a number of reforms over the past six months, including adopting 12 “strategic roadmaps” for the development of the country’s economy as well as regulations covering trade facilitation and the improvement of trade and logistic infrastructure.
Mammad-Guliyev added that implementation of the roadmaps by 2020 would serve as a “foundation” towards successful accession to the WTO.
“In addition to advancing the bilateral market access negotiations, the chair asked the WTO Secretariat to prepare a revised draft working party report based on new inputs received from Azerbaijan, and for Azerbaijan to submit an updated and revised legislative action plan along with copies of newly enacted legislation,” says the WTO message.
The chair added that the date for the next working party meeting would be fixed once these new inputs are received, according to the message.
Azerbaijan launched negotiations with the WTO member states in 2004. As of today, the country has completed negotiations and signed protocols with Turkey, Oman, the UAE, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. Azerbaijan is at the stage of signing protocols with China and Moldova.
Azerbaijan has had an observer status at the WTO since 1997.