Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA


Kazakhstan and the WTO

Posted on July 05, 2015 by KazCham

Silk Road Reporters

On 22 June, the working group approved Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and transmitted the packaged to the 161 members of the WTO for formal adoption. This signaled one of the last steps needed for Kazakhstan to join the WTO. This process, which has taken since 1996, has been arduous.

This is signaled by a statement of the working group Chairperson Vesa Himanen, “The 20-year accession negotiating history of the Accession of Kazakhstan is replete with challenges, complexity and uniqueness. Collectively, we have been able to prove that the system can deliver. Kazakhstan’s WTO accession sends a strong, positive and clear signal to its trading partners, for its commitment to engage with the global economy in the framework of the rules-based Multilateral Trading System.” This may tie well with the government of Kazakhstan Nurly Zhol policy of economic development unveiled late in 2014. Moreover, with the low level of trade in Central Asia, WTO membership will boost competition, investment, and growth. Currently, in Eurasia only Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia are members of the WTO. Kazakhstan, being the second largest post-Soviet economy will provide a great boost to trade by participating in the WTO, notably the European Union and China.

In 2013, each of the top six export-partners and four import partners were WTO members. They include China 22.7%, France 9.7%, Russia 8%, Germany 7.9%, Italy 6.9%, Ukraine 4.2% as a percent of exports totaling nearly 60%. Meanwhile, their import partners’ share are China 30.6%, Russia 20.5%, Ukraine 6.8%, Germany 6.2% totaling 64%. Upon ratification of Kazakhstan’s membership many of the tariffs will fall reciprocally benefiting traders and consumers alike.

On 22 June, Kazakhstani Minister Aitzhanova said “Our goal is to participate at the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi as a full-fledged WTO Member.” Ratification by member states should be a pro-forma affair, especially due to the fact that Kazakhstan plays a convivial role with its partner-states. From now, WTO members must adopt the Working Party Report. Thereafter, Kazakhstan will need to accept the terms by signature. Thence the WTO will notify member-states that ratification has been concluded. While much needs to be done to improve Kazakhstan’s competitiveness and economic environment, WTO membership is a great step forward.

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