Uzbekistan and IFIs discuss country’s accession to the WTO
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) --
On 13 March 132018, in the framework of working out issues of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO and attracting technical assistance, the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan with the support of the United Nations Development Program organized a working meeting with representatives of international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Delegation of the European Union in Uzbekistan, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and others.
Also, in order to ensure effective systemic work and regular monitoring of the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a "roadmap", which includes 34 events aimed at preparing documentation for resumption of the accession process and adaptation of national legislation.
- The procedure for accession to the WTO consists of several stages and, as the experience of the newly acceding countries shows, this is a long process, it can take several years. This is the so-called transitional preparatory period, which Uzbekistan uses as much as possible to analyze and assess the consequences of membership in the organization, the calculation of pros and possible risks, and other preventive measures. In order to avoid negative consequences for the economy from Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO, this process is planned to be implemented on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of the readiness of certain sectors of the economy, various groups of domestic commodity producers and the conformity of the mechanisms used for state regulation of the economy. It is planned to implement measures to increase the competitiveness of domestic enterprises on the basis of updating their technical and technological potentials, to intensify state support for scientific and technical developments and their introduction into production, Foreign Trade Minister Jamshid Khodjaev said.
He added that in the process of accession to the WTO, the state should agree with the Working Group from the interested WTO member countries the terms of their membership in the main areas. For example, access to the market for goods and services, the size of subsidies in agriculture, government support measures, trade aspects of intellectual property rights protection and much more. And here it is important to work out a well thought-out and carefully verified entry strategy so that the terms of accession minimize the negative impact on national producers and sensitive sectors of the economy.
Uzbek minister said that at the same time, they contributed to development of the economy through increased competition, improved product quality, the introduction of international standards, strengthening investment cooperation and expanding export capacity through access to new markets.
According to the minister, in order to strengthen the position of the republic in the negotiation process on accession to the WTO and to ensure protection of sensitive sectors of the economy, such as textile, food, automotive and agriculture, a draft decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on adjusting customs duties rates is being developed. The Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Trade participate in the creation of the document.
Also, an Interdepartmental Commission for Work with the WTO, headed by the Ministry of Foreign Trade, was formed, which included heads of ministries and departments of the republic. At the same time, it is planned to intensify the activities of the representative of Uzbekistan to the WTO in Geneva, whose work will be coordinated directly by the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan.
The package of measures also supposes implementation of institutional reforms, development of an international legal framework on a bilateral and multilateral basis, improvement of national legislation, further liberalization of the foreign trade regime and consistent harmonization with international norms and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Today, economic reforms in Uzbekistan are carried out on the basis of market principles, expanding the share of the private sector, strengthening economic stability and increasing the attractiveness of the republic for foreign investors. The country has joined more than 180 important multilateral international conventions and agreements in the field of trade and economic relations, the Minister of Foreign Trade stressed.
He said that the WTO activities cover more than 94% of the total volume of commodity flows, and joining this organization is one of the priorities of Uzbekistan’s foreign economic policy, is considered as one of the key factors to improve the country’s international image.
As of April 2018, a working meeting of the specially established Uzbek-Korean Advisory Council was scheduled to be held between the governments of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea in the framework of the Memorandum and the road map (November 2017), signed in Seoul. The purpose of the meeting was to examine the national legislation in the field of tariff and non-tariff regulation for compliance with the requirements of WTO agreements, as well as providing technical, consultative and expert support in the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization.
Along with this, work is under way to prepare for the next 4th round of the meeting of the Working Group on Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO in Geneva. The issue of approval of the Chairman of this Working Group in the city of Geneva in the person of a representative of a foreign state is also under consideration.