Tajikistan joins WTO after 11 years of negotiations

By bne IntelliNews December 11, 2012

bne -

Tajikistan was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 10, more than a decade after opening talks on joining the global trade club, making it the second Central Asian economy to sign up.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon signed the accession accord at a ceremony in Geneva after his country's entry was granted official approval by the WTO's general council. "Applying for WTO membership 11 years ago was the right step forward for Tajikistan as it transforms itself into a market economy. Tajikistan will use its WTO membership as a means of fostering future economic growth and prosperity," Rakhmon said, according to a statement from the WTO.

Dushanbe now has until June 7, 2013 to ratify the deal, after which the country will become the trade association's 159th member. "For Tajikistan, a small and landlocked country, WTO accession is a road leading to the world economy," WTO director-general Pascal Lamy said during the signing ceremony.

The move makes Tajikistan the second Central Asian country to join the WTO. Kyrgyzstan was an early adopter, signing up in 1998, while Kazakhstan is on the verge of membership following the accession of fellow Customs Union founder Russia in mid-2012.

Tajikistan applied to join the club in May 2001. However, it was not until two months ago that it saw a WTO working party approve the package setting out the terms of entry. Conditions demanded for progress towards membership included reforms to the country's trade regime and market access schedules on goods and services.

The entry to the WTO is not expected to affect Tajikistan's entry to the Customs Union, whose current three country membership list is completed by Belarus. Dushanbe is expected to join the CIS free trade club following the accession of neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, since Tajikistan does not share a border with any of the current members.

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