Kazakhstan’s efforts to become a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), an action the country has been attempting for 19 years, appears to be hindered by Ukraine and Mongolia, Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev said during a recent visit to Pavlodar Oblast.
“We still have some unresolved issues with Mongolia and Ukraine. There are some unclear points,” said Sagintayev, according to Tengrinews.kz. “Mongolia opposes, citing some historical issues. It probably wants to bargain a better deal for itself; you know how talks happen in such cases. There are also issues with Ukraine, but I think that in the near future all of these issues will be resolved.”
Both countries are members of WTO. Mongolia joined Jan. 29, 1997; Ukraine was welcomed May 16, 2008.
Sagintayev traveled to the region to meet with authorities and discuss government support for industrial enterprises. The sessions focused on a proposal to develop a new state programme to enhance local content, the number or percentage of the components of a product manufactured in a specific country. The representatives indicated the current procedures have worked to revise the existing rules, create new measures to augment coordination between government agencies and national companies and enhance local content and non-tariff regulation. The suggestions incorporated into the programme would provide additional improvements.
“The programme was designed for the years 2010-2014. Under this programme we held cooperation forums on a regular basis, where potential buyers could meet with companies to discuss cooperation. The programme has proven its effectiveness, so we kindly ask to either renew the programme for the development of local content or develop a new one,” said Pavlodar Oblast Deputy Akim (Governor) Duisenbai Turganov.
Sagintayev did not support the proposal, however, indicating the efforts needed to align with the country’s accession into the WTO.
“We cannot do this, we are entering the WTO,” he said, according to the online paper. “We have almost completed all the preparations and the negotiation processes for the accession to the WTO.”
Established in 1995 in Geneva, Switzerland, WTO is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. WTO agreements are negotiated and signed by the majority of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments, with the goal of helping producers of goods and services, exporters and importers conduct their business. As of June, WTO had 160 member nations.
Kazakhstan submitted an application to join WTO on Jan. 29, 1996 and a working party was established the following month. According to the WTO, any state or customs territory having full autonomy in the conduct of its trade policies may become a member (“accede to”) WTO, but all WTO members must agree on the terms. This is accomplished by naming a working party of WTO members and conducting negotiations.