Uzbekistan’s trade team gets advice on WTO accession from Kazakhstan

15.05.2024 94

A trade delegation led by Uzbekistan’s chief WTO negotiator was in Astana for technical discussions and experience sharing on WTO accession with negotiators of Kazakhstan’s WTO membership 

The International Trade Centre (ITC) organized the high-level mission at the request of Azizbek Urunov, who is the Special Representative of the President of Uzbekistan on WTO issues. He’s also the country’s Chief Negotiator on Uzbekistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization. Its purpose was to tap into Kazakhstan’s negotiations towards its WTO membership.

Kazakhstan joined the WTO in 2015, which means it can share advice with its Central Asian neighbour now negotiating WTO accession.

Urunov led a team of nine other senior members of the Uzbek team responsible for the different negotiating areas. These range from goods, services and agriculture, to trade facilitation, trade remedies and state trading enterprises. Officials responsible for aligning Uzbekistan’s national legislation with WTO requirements also joined the mission.

The mission, from 14 to 15 May 2024, is timely as Uzbekistan gears up for the 8th Working Party Meeting in Geneva, where its WTO accession negotiations will resume later in May.

The delegation was welcomed by Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Integration Zhanel Kushukova and Nurlan Kulbatyr – Deputy General Director of Kazakhstan’s centre for trade policy development, called QazTrade.

Striking a balance

The mission facilitated exchange on technical aspects of WTO negotiations. Bilaterals also covered legislative reforms and drilled into strategies for making commitments during the negotiations. This is a daunting task for acceding members who have to strike a healthy balance between heeding the requests of WTO Members while maintaining enough wriggle room to safeguard domestic interests.

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Trade and Integration, QazTrade, and the officials who negotiated Kazkahstan’s WTO accession imparted advice.

First up was a high-level overview of Kazakhstan’s WTO accession process. The successive technical sessions drilled into areas of the trade talks that are complex and strategically important. Uzbekistan also got valuable advice on handling reforms to bring national laws in line with WTO requirements.

The mission was organized with financial support from the European Union as part of the project Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO.

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