On behalf of the WTO, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you Mr President, to your First Deputy Prime Minister, and to your entire team of skillful negotiators. Today, the Republic of Tajikistan accedes under your able leadership and the able leadership of your Prime Minister, and of your Minister and Vice Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Mr Rahimzoda and Mr Nazriev.
I have listened to your statement Mr President with keen interest. It reflects the importance that rapidly growing economies attach to WTO membership. Mr President, your personal dedication has been critical to the successful outcome to these negotiations.
On this important occasion, I would also like to pay tribute to the entire WTO membership. Accession negotiations are invariably complex. And, in a consensus-based system, every successful accession’s negotiation — and enlargement of the WTO family — stands as testament to the strength of our Organization. With the accession of the Republic of Tajikistan, the WTO moves closer to universality.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Republic of Tajikistan is a rapidly growing economy. In 2011, it saw its international trade, which amounted to over US$ 5 billion, grow at the impressive rate of nearly 20%. The Republic of Tajikistan is an economy of strategic importance to its region, and to the Commonwealth of Independent States. It is my sincere hope, Mr President, that your WTO membership will translate into greater growth and jobs.
As Director-General, I am pleased that, today, members have decided to incorporate the Republic of Tajikistan into the WTO “family”.
In completing its accession, and committing to an impressive set of economic and trade reforms, Tajikistan is sending a clear signal to all its partners that it is willing to play by global rules. Foreign investors will be reassured by the applicability of the WTO’s familiar and predictable rules-based system and will know that Tajikistan is now “open for business”.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me also to express my appreciation for the work done by H.E. Ambassador Clyde Kull who has skillfully shepherded this negotiation to its conclusion as Chairman of the Working Party.
I am told that Tajikistan is a country of poets — a unique tradition where entire conversations can take place in verse! It would be fitting, therefore, to conclude my remarks with an old Tajik proverb: “a big family is a rich family”. So, dear colleagues, a warm welcome to Tajikistan — Khush omadéd ba Sozmóni Jakhoníi Sávdo! [“Welcome to the WTO”]