Business support services are crucial in times when trade policy agreements – whether with bilateral partners, or within the context of WTO accession – may impact upon businesses. Tajik business associations and Chamber of Commerce intend to build skills and services on trade information and advocacy services, so as to support their members in the process of Tajikistan accession to WTO.
Since yesterday, 04 December, 2012, the staff and representatives of Tajik business associations, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tajikistan have commenced on a two-day learning program on “Business services for WTO accession: Developing trade information and business advocacy services” started in Dushanbe city.
The workshop has been organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC), the implementing agency of WTO and UNCTAD, as part of the project on “Implementation of WTO provisions and business awareness of WTO Accession” funded by the Government of Switzerland.
The workshop is aimed to improve understanding and skills of Tajikistan business private sector on benefits, challenges and business implications of WTO membership of the country, as well as their role in business advocacy and trade information services. Participants also have an opportunity to improve their skills in researching market opportunities through use of ITC’s trade analyses tools and trade information resources. The workshop will be led by two ITC advisers – Ms. Famke Schaap, Business and Trade Policy Adviser and Ms. Medea Metreveli, Trade Information Services Associate Adviser.
Ms. Famke Schaap, ITC Business and Trade Policy Adviser, indicated that, whereas Tajikistan’s negotiations for WTO Accession are nearing conclusion, and talks for deeper integration are on-going within the region, businesses in Tajikistan toned to understand implications and engage on topics of their interest. With policy changes potentially impacting upon businesses, offering new business opportunities, as well as challenges ahead, the role of trade support institutions is crucial. Besides the Government, it is the business associations, and Chambers of Commerce that are well positioned and tasked to inform their members on implications arising out of trade policy negotiations. On the other hand, the trade support institutions may increasingly wish to represent their members’ interests throughout the negotiations, as well as in the implementation period (post-accession). Ms. Schaap mentioned: ‘With WTO Membership and the on-going regional integration efforts, Tajikistan is becoming increasingly integrated into the world trading system. Businesses want to be informed and represented, influence on-going reforms at home, or abroad and –ultimately- harvest the benefits”.
During the training, staff and representatives from trade support institutions will gain a better understanding on those issues that are currently relevant in the concluding phase of WTO Accession negotiations for Tajikistan: “How may WTO Membership impact upon Tajikistan business practices? What business opportunities for imports and exports are arising out of these agreements reached? How can associations and Chamber of Commerce and Industry represent their members, so that policy-makers are well informed about business interests during trade policy negotiations and formulation of domestic reforms”?
The International Trade Centre (ITC), through its on-going technical assistance project, is committed to support the Tajikistan private sector to understand and become engaged on the important topic of Tajikistan’s nearing WTO Membership.
There are currently 157 countries member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). 27 more governments, including Tajikistan, have applied to accede to the WTO, which are at different stages in the negotiation process. The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations, based on the WTO agreements, which are negotiated and signed by the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.