Azerbaijan’s WTO Hopes and Dreams

Azerbaijan’s WTO Hopes and Dreams

Vugar Bayramov; “WTO membership, and the huge boost it would imply for liberalization in Azerbaijan, is not an option unless the relevant government agencies decide it is serious about this reform”

“Working group on WTO membership is expected to hold its next meeting in November-December.Azerbaijan submitted the relevant documents to the secretariat. Nature of negotiations depends on the secretariat and WTO members now. It is difficult to say when the talks will finish. Azerbaijan is interested in WTO membership, but the terms of membership should meet the interests of Azerbaijan too”, Head of Working Group at the Azerbaijan Government and Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Mahmud Mammadguliyev said.

“The most recent official announcements show that Azerbaijan is not vastly interested in joining to the WTO in forthcoming years.  The country does not demonstrate harmony on confrontation issues such as status of the country, subsidy wall, tariff rate and etch between WTO and Azerbaijan”- said Vugar Bayramov, chairman of Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD), Azerbaijan.


Vugar Bayramov mentioned that WTO membership, and the huge boost it would imply for liberalization in Azerbaijan, is not an option unless the relevant government agencies decide it is serious about this reform. But as long as the oil price remains high there is no incentive. There is another concern related to reducing the monopoly power in foreign trade.  That’ is why although Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO has more benefit to the country although no any significant steps taken related to the admission process.


He mentioned that no consensus reached in the Geneva talks for a round of bilateral negotiations on the conditions of its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) although bilateral talks on WTO membership with the European Union, Ecuador, Switzerland, Brazil and China taken.  It is mentioned that Azerbaijan is in bilateral talks with 12 countries on its WTO.


“There is dispute on tariffs, services, plans on amendments in legislation, subsidizing of agriculture between Azerbaijan and member countries” Vugar Bayramov said: “No agreement reached in talks with USA, EU, Canada, and Australia, yet. The  requirements are related to tariffs, amendments to legislation and their harmonization with the WTO requirements”.


Vugar Bayramov mentioned that last un-resulted negotiations show that Azerbaijan’s admission to the WTO before 2013 is not real.


Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that admission to the organization as a developing country is favorable for Azerbaijan. If we can get this status, we will be able to get some privileges. Talks are under way on this; some countries agree, while others do not.  ”The second issue is of course the improvement of legislation to meet WTO standards. We have got an action plan. Some of it has already been fulfilled. There are 40-50 documents, 30 of which have been approved in accordance with the organization’s requirements. We are trying to complete the rest this year or next year,” the ministry announced.


The Ministry has declared that, the issue on privileges, which the county will gain on “yellow” basket of inner subsidizing, becomes important. Referring itself to developing countries, Azerbaijan will claim for level of subsidies not less than 10% of goods cost of agriculture production.

Azerbaijan is at the very early stages in the process although the country has observer status at WTO since 1997.


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