The General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) approved the accession of Tajikistan as a WTO member after all members adopted Tajikistan’s accession package yesterday evening, on 10 December, 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.
This was the final step of Tajikistan’s WTO accession after bilateral and multilateral negotiations lasted for more than ten years. Now, the Parliament of Tajikistan has until 7 June 2013 to ratify it and then the country will become a fully-fledged member 30 days after it notifies the WTO of the ratification. From the date of accession, Tajikistan has committed to apply WTO provisions uniformly throughout its entire territory.
Watch a slide-show from Tajikistan Accession Meeting in Geneve
Read WTO Director General Statement
Read WTO Spokesperson Special Interview to Ozodi
Mr. Sharif Rahimzoda, Tajik Minister of Economic Development and Trade, the key agency involved in the WTO negotiation process, says “WTO membership will allow our country to integrate into the world economy and the global trading system with confidence, and provide an open, transparent and non-discriminatory environment for internal and external trade. I believe that as a WTO member, we will benefit more from using trade as an instrument for our development and growth”.
The path to WTO membership was long and full of challenges, and began with Tajikistan’s application for WTO membership on 29 May 2001. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) provided technical assistance from the very beginning of Tajikistan’s application procedure in 2001. For many years, SECO was the only donor active in this field in the country and it has invested around 3 million Swiss francs in its support of Tajikistan’s WTO accession.
Minister Rahimzoda says: “The key foreign partner in this process was the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Since our first steps towards WTO membership, SECO has supported the capacity building of our agencies involved in WTO negotiations, and helped involve some of the best international experts, among them many former negotiators from countries already acceded to WTO, whose experience and knowledge has been vital in our negotiation process and the conforming of our legislation to WTO requirements. I would like to take the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to SECO and to the experts from the various organizations financed by SECO that have provided to us with technical assistance, such as UNITAR, The IDEAS center in Geneva and the International Trade Centre (ITC). The assistance we have received has strengthened our negotiation capacities and helped us to bring our trade regime into conformity with WTO rules”.
Mr. Hans-Peter Egler, Head Trade Promotion, Division of Cooperation and Development at SECO says that of SECO will continue to provide assistance to Tajikistan in the implementation of WTO provisions (services, TBT and SPS) and other issues regarding the post accession process.He says: “SECO is currently funding the Trade Cooperation Programme (TCP) in Tajikistan. The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to the implementation of complex domestic reforms that will allow Tajikistan to fully apply the WTO provisions accepted during its negotiation process”.
In the framework of this programme SECO supports two projects run by the International Trade Centre (ITC) aimed at assisting Tajikistan in WTO accession. These projects focused on sectors of agro industrial products, textiles, financial, telecommunications, transport, and energy services and are implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, selected business associations and service providers.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations whose goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. The organization has 157 members and 27 more governments, including Tajikistan, have applied to accede to the WTO, which are at different stages of the process.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the Swiss competence centre for all core issues relating to economic policy. SECO implements economic development cooperation with developing and transition countries with the aim to support the sustainable integration of these countries into the world economy and to promote their economy in order to help reduce poverty. SECO is part of the Swiss Federal Department. Further information can be found at: www.seco.admin.ch. or http://www.seco-cooperation.admin.ch.
The Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) is a joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN). ITC’s goal is to help developing and transition countries achieve sustainable human development through exports. Information on ITC’s core areas of expertise and its approach to trade-related technical cooperation is available on ITC’s website: www.intracen.org.