Technical Aid Project on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards within Azerbaijan joining WTO announced

Azerbaijan, Baku/ Trend corr. I. Khalilova / The presentation connected with the launch of the technical assistance project of Azerbaijan's sanitary and phytosanitary standards has been held at the Baku Business Centre today.

Bahram Aliyev, Azerbaijan's Deputy Agriculture Minister, marked the importance of this project in that Azerbaijan was preparing to join WTO. However, first of all it is necessary to improve the domestic legislation to meet international standards. The next step is the preparation for the national production standards of quality, both from the point of view of its content, and the guarantee of production safety. "Corresponding laboratories in which to meet international standards should be installed in the country for these aims, since the sanitary and phytosanitary standards are observed toward import production," assistance Mr. Aliyev.

The presentation of the project was held by Lorenz Franken, the Deputy Chief of the Department for International Trade Policy of the German Federal Agriculture Ministry and Consumers Protection.

Rudiger Ost, representative of the German Ministry and head of the project also participated at the presentation. Experts intend to hold meetings by 31 March to become acquainted with the existing legislation, rules and regulations regarding sanitary and phytosanitary standards in the country.

There are some 24 phytosanitary and 70 veterinary rules and regulations operating in the country. According to Mr. Ost, this week, they will be subjected to expert examination so as to meet WTO standards. However, he added that this examination would not be the final one. Corresponding recommendations are then to be prepared and submitted to the Azerbaijani Government.

Within the technical assistance, the existing system in this field is expected to be adapted to meet the requirements of the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards, Agriculture and Restrictions in Trade. The improvement of the Azerbaijani legislation and different training sessions are expected at the expense of funds to be granted from the technical assistance. According to Mr. Franken, all WTO members should submit their regulations on sanitary and phytosanitary standards to the Secretariat of the Organization, in order to receive necessary information on corresponding standards in the other countries. "In order not to be involved in different legal proceedings with WTO member-states, it is extremely important to fully unveil the crux of these rules (over 1000 corresponding rules have been registered in Azerbaijan to date). Importers should be aware of technical restrictions applied to goods produced in other country," noted Mr. Franken.

Within the existing project, the training and the period as a trainee, is expected to be held in Germany. Instructions on how to apply the WTO standards, as well as proposals to improve the existing legislation will be prepared. The technical aid is planned until the end of 2007 and the amount of the grant to be presented has been determined at €50.000.

The grant agreement was signed during the visit of the Azerbaijan's Minister of Agriculture, Ismat Abasov, to Berlin in January, 2007.

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