Baku, Azerbaijan, March 14
By Fakhri Vakilov-Trend:
Representatives of state institutions of Uzbekistan held a meeting with representatives of the WTO and the International Trade Center (ITC), Trend reports via Uzbek media.
The purpose of the round table was to review the current legislation and practice of accession to the WTO, as well as identify the key needs of Uzbekistan determining priority areas for technical assistance in the framework of the EU-funded Project to be implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC).
ITC representative, Rajesh Aggarwal stated that the expected benefits from integration into the global economy made many countries, including countries in the Central Asian region, to join the WTO.
Head of the EU Delegation in Uzbekistan, Eduard Stiprais stressed that the EU has witnessed all the profound changes that have occurred in Uzbekistan over the past two years. Membership in the WTO is crucial for supporting the reforms already implemented, as well as successfully managing the future reforms. In particular, membership in the WTO will make Uzbekistan a more attractive place for investment.
The round table provided interested parties with an opportunity to learn more about the activities of the WTO, the information about which was presented by the Director of the Department for the Accession of New Countries of the WTO Secretariat, Ms. Maika Oshikawa.
Then, Mr. Aggarwal dwelled on the advantages of joining the WTO accessing countries by saying that membership in the WTO can serve as a tool to attract domestic and foreign investment to diversify the local production base and expand its production potential.
Currently, 164 states are members of the WTO, accounting for about 96 percent of world trade. Only 3 countries of the Central Asian region Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are not members yet.
For the first time, Uzbekistan submitted an application for accession to the WTO in 1994, but since 2005 negotiations have been suspended. The EU welcomed the fact that the Uzbek side is now purposefully and consistently resuming this process in order to become part of the WTO family.
International Trade Center is a multilateral agency which has a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization and the United Nations through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that deals with operational and business-oriented aspects of trade development.
The headquarters of the ITC are situated in Geneva, Switzerland. Their staff consists of approximately 300 employees spanning more than 80 nationalities. Furthermore, ITC has country-based project offices where they employ experts from the specific region.
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