WTO: 2015 NEWS ITEMS

ACCESSIONS


NOTE:
THIS NEWS STORY is designed to help the public understand developments in the WTO. While every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, it does not prejudice member governments’ positions.

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At the 12th meeting of the Working Party (the 11th meeting took place on 21 February 2014), H.E. Mr Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief Negotiator of Azerbaijan, stressed the challenges caused by the drop in international oil prices. This had created an impetus to diversify the economy. Members of the Working Party expressed hope for Azerbaijan's prompt accession.

Foreign trade regime and WTO rules

Members of the Working Party reviewed Azerbaijan’s trade regime on the basis of the revised Draft Working Party Report.  

Members’ comments and questions revolved around the application of discriminatory tax exemptions, production sharing agreements, local content requirements and investment incentives, state trading enterprises, permit requirements for alcohol and tobacco products, the commitment to join the Information Technology Agreement upon accession , technical barriers to trade (product standards and certification), transition periods to implement WTO Agreements, and agricultural and non-agricultural export subsidies.  The Working Party Chairperson invited members to submit their written questions/comments by 15 April 2015.

 

Bilateral market access negotiations

Azerbaijan reported positive engagement with interested members in bilateral market access negotiations on goods and services. Ambassador Lewalter recalled that “progress in bilateral negotiations is essential to move the accession forward” and urged members and Azerbaijan to “maintain bilateral contacts between meetings of the Working Party”.

 

Legislative developments

Azerbaijan updated members on its legislative developments and reaffirmed its commitment to bring its trade regime into conformity with WTO rules.

 

Next steps

Members requested that Azerbaijan submit replies to their questions, draft and adopted legislation for their review and an updated Legislative Action Plan. The WTO Secretariat would revise the Draft Working Party Report based on those inputs.

Ambassador Lewalter urged members and Azerbaijan to “change gears” and advance negotiations towards conclusion.

 

Background

  • Previous Working Party meeting: 21 February 2014
  • Working Party Chairperson: Ambassador Walter Lewalter (Germany)
  • Application received: 30 June 1997
  • Working Party established: 16 July 1997
  • Working Party Secretary: Ms Josefita Pardo de León
  • Working Party Co-Secretaries: Ms Anna Varyanik
  • Director of the Accessions Division: Mr Chiedu Osakwe

 

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