The next meeting to discuss the entering of Azerbaijan in World Trade Organization (WTO) is supposedly to take place in Geneva at the end of 2006. It is the first time when two meetings were organized in the course of one year, the vice-Foreign Minister, head of the negotiating commission, Makhmud Mamedkuliyev told Trend. He did not exclude the possibility that talks will be held in one of the WTO countries or they might be held in Baku.
Azerbaijan had 4 meetings with WTO up to now. First 2 of them were dedicated to the foreign trade regime discussion, and the last 2 were focused on the accession of Azerbaijan into the organization. The bilateral talks are held on allowing services and goods to the Azerbaijani market, whereas, multi-lateral to support the agriculture and provision of subsidies in that area. The single rates have to be established on the excise tax. Mammedkuliyev believes that the custom tariffs are the major protective measures to protect the domestic market; therefore, country should create the maximum save conditions for the local producers. EU and US positions on the matter are to make the entering country to take all customs tariffs responsibilities. The maximum rate on the custom tariffs in Azerbaijan today is 15%, but there are chances for the agriculture and industry development. The WTO demands the country to reduce it or at least keep it at 15% limit.
In the frames of the multi-lateral negotiations Azerbaijan is struggling for the developing country status. It implies that developing countries receive 10% of agricultural support, whereas developed ones only 5%. Azerbaijan has already received support on that matter from Malaysia and Australia.
Today Azerbaijan has also to modernize the legislature, matching it the international norms, WTO standards and agreements. Country needs it first of all to continue the economic reforms successfully, he said. All changes to the legislature have to be made in the course of 1-2 years and preferably completed by 2007. The whole course of the WTO accession negotiations will depend on that.