Tajikistan’s accession to the WTO cleared a major hurdle on 26 October 2012 when the Working Party on its accession approved, ad referendum, the package spelling out its terms of entry to the organization.
The Working Party on Tajikistan’s accession, chaired by Ambassador Clyde Kull (Estonia), agreed, ad referendum, on the terms of the country’s membership to the WTO by adopting the package containing reforms to Tajikistan’s trade regime, market access schedules on goods and services, the Ministerial Decision and the Protocol of Accession.
The Working Party will now send its accession recommendation to the General Council of 11-12 December2012, when all members are expected to approve these documents and accept Tajikistan as a WTO member.
Tajikistan applied for WTO membership on 29 May 2001.
“Tajikistan is one step closer to becoming a member of the WTO family. This is a sign of solid confidence in the WTO and in the multilateral trading system. Accession to the WTO will firmly integrate Tajikistan into the global economy and the global trading system, providing an open, transparent and non-discriminatory environment. As a new member, Tajikistan will be in a better position to use trade as a tool for its development and growth, as others have done,” said Director-General Pascal Lamy.
Tajikistan’s WTO commitments
As part of the accession accord, Tajikistan has agreed to undertake a series of important commitments to further open its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy. The deal offers as well a transparent and predictable environment for trade and foreign investment.
Tajikistan would apply WTO provisions uniformly throughout its entire territory, including in regions engaging in border trade, special economic zones and areas where special regimes for tariffs, taxes and regulations were established.
From the date of accession, Tajikistan has committed to fully apply all WTO provisions without any recourse to transitional periods. It committed to join the Information Technology Agreement upon accession and will submit an application for membership of the Government Procurement Agreement within one year of its accession. Overall, Tajikistan’s commitments will include the following:
Market access for goods and services
As part of the accession, Tajikistan concluded six bilateral agreements on market access for services and 13 on market access for goods.
Tajikistan has agreed to accept “bound” rates, i.e. maximum ceiling levels, for all its import tariffs. Tariffs will be “ordinary customs duties” only, within committed levels, with no additional duties and charges.
The average of Tajikistan’s “bound” tariffs, for all products, is 8.0%. For agricultural products, this average is 10.4% while for non-agricultural products the average is 7.6%.
Tajikistan has made specific commitments in 11 services sectors, including 111 sub-sectors.
Tajikistan’s licensing procedures and conditions would not act as independent barriers to market access in services. Licensing procedures and conditions would be published prior to becoming effective.
Other commitments include:
- State-trading enterprises would make purchases and sales which are not for the Government’s own use in accordance with commercial considerations. Companies from other WTO members will be afforded adequate opportunity to compete for participation in purchases or sales of Tajikistan’s state enterprises.
- Tajikistan would ensure that natural monopolies recover all costs, including a reasonable profit, in the ordinary course of their business. Tajikistan would apply price controls in a WTO consistent manner.
- Tajikistan will provide for the right to appeal administrative rulings to an independent tribunal on WTO matters, including those on trade regulations, subsidies, customs valuation, intellectual property rights and domestic regulation in services.
- Any natural or legal person, regardless of physical presence or investment in Tajikistan, would be granted the right to be the importer of record. Full rights to import and export would be granted in a non-discriminatory and non-discretionary manner and commercial registration would not be linked to investment and distribution requirements.
- Tajikistan will join the Information Technology Agreement upon accession.
- Import tariff rate quotas will be administered in compliance with WTO rules.
- Fees and charges for services rendered by the Government will be applied in accordance with WTO rules and information regarding the application and level of such fees will be published.
- Tajikistan would apply its domestic taxes in a non-discriminatory manner to imports regardless of country of origin and to domestically-produced products.
- Tajikistan would not apply quantitative restrictions on imports or other non-tariff measures — such as licensing, quotas, bans, permits, prior authorization requirements and other restrictions — having equivalent effect, without justification under WTO rules. Import licensing procedures would be applied in accordance with WTO rules.
- WTO rules on rules of origin, preshipment inspection, trade-related investment measures, free zones and the transit of goods (including energy) will be applied in accordance with the relevant WTO provisions from the date of accession.
- Trade remedies: upon accession, Tajikistan will apply anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard measures in accordance with WTO rules. In determining price comparability, the importing WTO member shall use either Tajikistan’s prices or costs for the industry under investigation or a methodology that is not based on a strict comparison with domestic prices or costs in Tajikistan in accordance with a specific set of rules spelled out in the Report of the Working Party.
- Tajikistan will eliminate and not introduce duties, taxes, fees and charges applied to exports, except on about 300 specific tariff lines identified in its Report. Tajikistan will notify the WTO of changes to its duties, taxes, fees and charges applied to exports. Export licensing requirements, quantitative restrictions and other export control requirements would be brought in line with WTO provisions.
- Tajikistan will join the WTO Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft upon accession and will start negotiations to join the Government Procurement Agreement within one year of its accession.
- Tajikistan will apply the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights no later than by the date of its accession to the WTO.
- WTO rules on the use of industrial subsidies will be applied in accordance with the relevant WTO provisions from the date of accession. Subsidies provided to state-owned and state-trading enterprises will be viewed as specific if, inter alia, they are the predominant recipients or if they receive disproportionately large amounts of such subsidies.
- The WTO Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade (product standards and labelling) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (food safety and animal and plant health) will be fully implemented from the date of accession.
- Transparency: Tajikistan will submit the initial notifications required by the WTO Agreements upon accession. All laws related to trade would be promptly published. Within two years of accession, Tajikistan will designate an official journal or website where all trade regulations/laws will be published, for WTO members, individuals and enterprises to consult. Tajikistan would provide a reasonable period of no less than 30 days for comments on trade regulations/laws. Tajikistan would provide periodic reports to WTO members on developments in its programme of privatization. In relation with trade in services, Tajikistan will publish a list of all organizations responsible for authorizing, approving or regulating services activities for each services sector. It will also publish in the official journal all of its licensing procedures and conditions upon accession.
- Tajikistan would observe all WTO provisions in its participation in preferential trade agreements. Tajikistan will notify its Free Trade Areas and Customs Union Agreements to the relevant WTO Committee.
Tajikistan’s accession package will be forwarded to the General Council to be held on 11-12 December 2012 for adoption by all members. Tajikistan will have until 7 June 2013 to ratify its accession package. Tajikistan will become a full-fledged member 30 days after it notifies the WTO of the ratification.
Background information on Tajikistan’s accession process
Tajikistan’s applied to the WTO on 29 May 2001.
The Working Party was established in July 2001.
The first meeting of the Woking Party took place in March 2004.
Secretary: Mr Dimitar Bratanov
Co-Secretary: Ms Juneyoung Lee
Director of the WTO Accessions Division: Mr Chiedu Osakwe
General statistical information about Tajikistan
(Sources: WTO statistics and World Bank)
Population: about 7 million (2011)
GDP (million current US$): 5 640 (2010)
Doing Business Rank: 147 (2012)
CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita): 0.5 (2008)
Life expectancy at birth: 68 (2011)
Rank in world trade (2010)
Merchandise: 143 (exports) and 140 (imports)
Commercial services: 161 (exports) and 157 (imports)
Merchandise trade (2010)
Merchandise (exports): 1 195 million USD
Merchandise (imports): 2 657 million USD
Commercial services trade (2010)
Services (exports): 182 million USD
Services (imports): 389 million USD
Main trading partners: China, EU, Russian Federation, Central Asian countries and Turkey.