Central Asian Countries join WTO

Posted on: 24/02/2013

The World Trade Organisation grew by 4 new members in 2012 (Montenegro, Samoa, Vanuatu, Russia) and 2013 looks to be a similarly productive year with Laos the first new member of 2013 joining on the 2nd February 2013 becoming the 158th member.  As well as Yemen on the starting blocks we also have the Central Asian countries will join the ranks of members of the WTO. 

Among all Central Asian countries only Kyrgyzstan is a WTO member and has been since December 20, 1998 but it has been said they joined under unfavourable conditions something the other countries want to avoid.

  • Tajikistan received approval from the WTO on December 10, 2012, and will become a full member of the organization by June 7, 2013. Tajikistan took 11 years to become a WTO member.       
  • 17th January 2013, Kazakhstan received an encouraging message from the WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, expressing the possibility of Kazakhstan's accession to the WTO this year.
  • Turkmenistan starts negotiations for accession to the WTO this year, although previously it had no interest in the organization
  • Uzbekistan acquired observer status in 2001 but is yet to move on to full negotiations.

It is believed that entry of other Central Asian countries to the WTO will relieve current tensions in regional trade and economic relations and commercial interests will be protected through international mechanisms.  WTO membership for the countries of Central Asia is attractive in terms of participation in transit projects as well, due to the region's prime location between Russia, China, Iran and the Caucasus.

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