WTO: 2015 NEWS ITEMS

ACCESSIONS


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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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WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “I congratulate WTO members and the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the historic step taken today to conclude the accession negotiations of Kazakhstan and finalize its WTO Accession Package. I look forward to welcoming Kazakhstan to the WTO.”

The draft Accession Package, spelling out Kazakhstan’s terms of WTO membership, contains:

  • the draft report of the Working Party outlining the country's reformed trade regime and its commitments as a WTO member;  
  • the draft Schedule of Concessions and Commitments on Goods; and
  • the draft Schedule of Specific Commitments on Trade in Services.

Members of the Working Party welcomed the conclusion of "one of the most challenging negotiations" in the 20-year history of the Organization.  Chairperson Ambassador Vesa Himanen of Finland congratulated WTO members and the government of Kazakhstan led by Minister Zhanar Aitzhanova, Kazakhstan’s Minister for Economic Integration for a “historic achievement” after 20 years of negotiations.

The complexity and uniqueness of Kazakhstan’s accession lies in the negotiations on tariff adjustment due to Kazakhstan’s membership of the Eurasian Economic Union (consisting of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia).  Tariff adjustment consisted of resolving discrepancies between bilateral market access agreements negotiated by Kazakhstan with WTO members, Russia’s schedule of commitments and the common external tariff of the customs union. This had emerged as the principal hurdle in completing Kazakhstan’s market access negotiations. 

 

Next steps

Members of the Working Party will meet on 22 June to formally adopt the draft Accession Package ad referendum

Kazakhstan’s Accession Package will be forwarded to the General Council for formal adoption by all 161 WTO members.

 

Background information

  • Application received on 29 January 1996
  • Working Party established on 6 February 1996
  • Working Party Chairperson: H.E. Mr Vesa Himanen (Finland)
  • Working Party Secretary: Mrs Maika Oshikawa
  • Working Party co-Secretaries: Ms Anna Varyanik and Mr Mustapha Sekkate
  • Director of the WTO Accessions Division: Mr Chiedu Osakwe
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