Next Round WTO Negotiations; No New Promises?

Next round WTO Negotiations; No New Promises?

Next round negotiations of Azerbaijan’s Accession to the WTO will be at the last week of November, 2012, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev told Trend on September, 11, 2012. “We have a maximum of four to six weeks beforehand to send answers to WTO member countries’ questions, proposals for negotiations and so on. Work on the answers is almost complete and I think we will send them in September,” Mammadguliyev said.

He said that along with the meeting of the working group, bilateral and multilateral negotiations on agriculture will also be held. “We will send proposals to all the countries with whom we negotiate. Perhaps meetings will be held with the U.S., or EU,” Mammadguliyev said.

“No tangible outputs produced in negotiations on Azerbaijani Accession to WTO.  There is no positive signal from previous meeting about when Azerbaijan can access to the WTO. There is still dispute on tariffs, services, plans on amendments in legislation, subsidizing of agriculture between Azerbaijan and member countries”-  Vugar Bayramov, chairman of CESD said; “No agreement reached in talks with USA, EU, Canada, and Australia, yet. The main 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 2014 is not real.

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.

Azerbaijan held bilateral talks with the U.S., EU, Norway, Canada, Ecuador and Japan during the ninth round of multilateral talks on Azerbaijan’s membership of the WTO in February 2012. In addition, bilateral talks with the U.S., China, Canada and Brazil were held in Geneva on July 24-28.

Azerbaijan is in bilateral talks with the U.S., Japan, Brazil, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, European Union, Norway, India, South Korea, Taiwan Province of China, Canada, and Switzerland.
Azerbaijan started talks in 2004.

Negotiations with Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan have been completed and protocols signed. The country is in the process of signing a protocol with Moldova which is still considering the document.

As part of the talks, Azerbaijan continues working on adjusting its national legislative base in accordance with the WTO requirements as well as on improving the current trade regime. About 40-50 legislative acts should meet the requirements of the organisations and 30 of these have already been unified and work in this direction continues this year.

The working group on Azerbaijan to the WTO was established on July 16, 1997. Azerbaijan has been represented at the World Trade Organisation as an observer since 1997.




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