Implementation of WTO Provisions and Business Awareness of WTO Accession
This project is Component TWO of the SECO’s Trade Cooperation Programme (TCP) in Tajikistan, which overall objective is to contribute to the implementation of complex domestic reforms in Tajikistan to ensure compliance with the WTO provisions. The International Trade Centre (ITC), through this technical assistance project, is committed to support Tajikistan’s private sector in strengthening its knowledge of the opportunities and challenges stemming from the WTO membership.
Project Donor – SECO
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the Swiss competence centre for all core issues related to economic policy and is part of the Swiss Federal Department for Economic Affairs. SECO implements economic development cooperation programmes with developing countries and emerging economies with the aim to support the sustainable integration of these countries into the world economy and to promote their economy to reduce poverty. Further information can be found at: www.seco.admin.ch.
Implementing Agency – ITC
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 countries and emerging economies achieve sustainable human development through the enhancement of their business environment and through the amelioration of their export capacities. Information on ITC’s core areas of expertise and its approach to trade-related technical cooperation is available on ITC’s website: http://www.intracen.org.
Tajikistan in WTO
After more than 11 years of negotiations, Tajikistan became the 159th member of the World Trade Organization. This historic event for the Republic of Tajikistan was announced on 02 March 2013. WTO Accession was one of the top political and economic priorities for the Government of Tajikistan, aiming to improve the overall economic, trade and business-related conditions, external image and competitiveness of the Tajik economy. However, WTO Accession requires the acceding country to show full conformity with WTO disciplines and rules.
SECO and ITC remain committed to work with the Republic of Tajikistan by providing assistance for the implementation of the WTO provisions. This project is designed in close consultation with the country’s decision-makers and private sector. It is fully aligned with Tajikistan’s national strategic documents.
In the coming years of Tajikistan’s post accession period, ITC will contribute by means of a two-tiered approach, in terms of assisting the private sector to engage in trade policymaking, by improving them with knowledge and understanding of the implications of the WTO Accession. First, ITC will contribute by helping to improve the general understanding among the relevant Government institutions and private sector stakeholders on the implications of the WTO Accession. Second, ITC will assist in enhancing the understanding of the private sector of the sector-specific implications of the WTO Accession and the related reform processes.
Means of assistance will include workshops, research assistance, advisory services, related country-specific analysis, and public-private dialogues.
The project outcomes
Outcome 1 (Regulatory infrastructure): Improved capacity of SQAM, SPS and TBT bodies and the regulatory infrastructure (ongoing Immediate Objective 4 of “Trade Promotion in Tajikistan – Phase III”).
This will be achieved through the enhancement of the agro-industry and textile private sectors’ awareness regarding the business implications resulting from the WTO Accession and trade policy implementations.
This will allow sector stakeholders to engage in the WTO negotiation process by voicing their interests, to allow the negotiators to better advocate their industries’ needs.
What we expect?
Enhancing the knowledge and understanding of the firms on the WTO TBT and SPS Agreements will provide them the adequate tools to increase their export capacities and overcome related SPS and TBT issues.
They will also become familiar with the specific trade concerns that should be raised within the WTO Committees on TBT and SPS. Private sector involvement in WTO negotiations will be strengthened in the agro-industrial and textile sectors.
Maintaining the NNA and the NEPs for TBT and SPS in a fully operational state will enable Tajikistan to fulfill its obligations related to these agreements.
Furthermore, the enhanced ability of the enquiry points for information retrieval and dissemination will enable exporters to keep abreast of developments affecting their products and obtain up-to-date information about technical requirements in their export market.
Outcome 2 (Support in the services’ sector): Strengthened service providers’ knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of WTO accession and thereby strengthened negotiation capacities of the four service sectors.
To achieve this, the awareness of the private sector in these sectors will be increased so that they understand the business implications of WTO accession and trade policy. This will allow sector stakeholders to become engaged in the WTO negotiation process by voicing their interests, so that the negotiators are able to better advocate industries’ needs.
The targeted sectors are agro-industrial products, textiles, financial, telecommunications, transport, and energy services.
What we expect?
With a view to Tajikistan’s membership to WTO, Tajikistan should ensure that its industries and more specifically the four services’ sectors are sufficiently competitive in the face of foreign competition. Business associations and institutions are expected to play a crucial role in this endeavor by collecting the views from their membership, and conveying the priorities of the business community to trade negotiators. In addition, they will help to raise awareness on the importance of competitiveness and market thinking.
The project will facilitate public-private dialogues and consultations with the service sectors during the WTO Accession process and related reforms. Private sector involvement in WTO negotiations will be strengthened in the four service sectors.
Finally, through ITC’s intervention, selected local business associations, including the Chamber of Commerce, will strengthen their capacities to provide WTO-Accession-related advisory services to their membership, in particular in market analysis, trade information, and the development of position papers.
Key dates of Tajikistan’s WTO Accession process:
* 29 May 2001
Tajikistan officially submitted its application for WTO membership
* 18 July 2001
The Working Group on Tajikistan’s accession was established
* 20 September 2012
The last bilateral protocol was signed with the European Union
* 26 October 2012
The Working Group adopted the accession package
* 11 December 2012
The WTO General Counsel approved Tajikistan’s membership to the WTO
* 09 January 2013
The Parliament of Tajikistan ratified the agreement on the country’s accession to the WTO
* 31 January 2013
Tajikistan officially informed the WTO of the ratification of the agreement
* 02 March 2013
Tajikistan became the 159th member of the WTO