PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV SIGNS PROTOCOL ON KAZAKHSTAN’S
ACCESSION TO WTO
Astana, July 28:
Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, attended the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) General Council session in Geneva on July 27 to sign the
protocol on the nation’s accession to the world’s largest trade alliance. The
accession came after talks lasting almost two decades to allow Kazakhstan to
embrace global competition on beneficial terms.
will soon start operating under the WTO rules. However, we have been adjusting
our economic policies for a long time in this direction by removing barriers,
acting as an engine of regional integration and promoting the principles of
open collaboration,” the Kazakh leader emphasised, according to the Akorda
Roberto Azevêdo signed the Protocol on the Accession of Kazakhstan on behalf of
the WTO, following the General Council’s approval of the Central Asian
country’s WTO terms of entry.
is a truly historic occasion for Kazakhstan, and for the WTO. For Kazakhstan,
this is recognition of the efforts you have made over recent years and your
commitment to this process. It is an endorsement of the extensive programme of
reforms, which you have undertaken,” he emphasised.
called the decision to join the WTO a “message to the world that Kazakhstan is
open for business.”
accession adds an important voice to our discussions here. It brings the
organisation closer to the heart of Central Asia. And it brings us closer to
our goal of universal membership,” he said.
expressed his appreciation of an “impressive job” on all sides following what
he called a “very tough negotiation process.” He emphasised that during the
negotiations with the WTO, Kazakhstan’s economy went through “dramatic”
the past years, we have come a long way in integrating Kazakhstan’s economy
into the global market. We have implemented ambitious institutional reforms.
They include further development of international economic cooperation.
Effective implementation of the reforms will help to shape a brand new
institutional environment,” Nazarbayev underlined.
to the WTO press release, the negotiations on Kazakhstan’s membership were
finalised by the Working Party on June 10. Kazakhstan’s WTO accession package
was adopted by the 52 Working Party members through a referendum on June 22.
Working Party Chairperson, Finish Ambassador Vesa Himanen, announced that
during the course of the negotiations, Kazakhstan adopted 50 new laws and
introduced amendments to 10 international agreements within the framework of
the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).The progress in this
area – overseen by President Nazarbayev and in close coordination with the EAEU
partners – significantly helped accelerate the talks during the last year. “The
package agreed with Kazakhstan is a high quality one, which makes a valuable
contribution to enhancing access to markets and upgrading terms of multilateral
trade systems, thereby strengthening the WTO”, Himanen said, according to the
pointed out that during the long period of talks with the WTO, Kazakhstan’s GDP
per capita increased 18-fold and reached the levels of Central and Eastern
Europe. The country’s external trade volume increased to $120 billion annually,
of which more than 90% is with the WTO member states, he said.
is rich in mineral resources, and we intend to change the structure of our
economy to remove the dependency on exporting raw materials. Today 54% of our
GDP is linked to the services industry. It includes the financial sector,
telecommunications, construction, energy and transport. Liberalisation of the
financial services within the WTO will proceed in parallel with the process of
establishing the Astana International Financial Centre. We hope that it will
become a backbone of Kazakhstan’s financial infrastructure, and eventually a
financial hub for the entire region. We invite all countries to participate in
this project,” President Nazarbayev said.
further highlighted the priority of developing infrastructure, transport and
logistical services in Kazakhstan, including the construction of Western Europe
– Western China road corridor and the Nurly Zhol (Path to the Future) policy of
work [hard] to become part of the global community. That is why we develop
strategic corridors that will connect major markets. Our infrastructure
projects will help maximise our unique transit potential – and that will be a
big benefit for the country’s economy and international markets,” the President
also emphasised his government’s efforts to enhance domestic conditions for
luring more foreign investors.
improving the investment climate, we are now prioritising the diversification
of our economy. All the necessary conditions are created for investments to go
not only to the oil and gas and mining sectors, but also to the processing
industries,” he said.
President reminded that the WTO’s main principle was preventing discriminative
measures in international trade.
policy of sanctions, which mixes economics with politics, impedes trade and
does not correspond with WTO principles. I think our common goal is to prevent
this from happening,” he said, referring to tensions between Russia and the
West, which have affected economic growth in Eurasia since their introduction
President concluded his remarks by confirming readiness to further strengthen
constructive cooperation with Kazakhstan’s international partners within the
framework of the WTO.
to the media in Geneva, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov described
the accession as “historic.”
have worked very hard. This has been a long and winding road,” Idrissov said,
according to a report from Agence France Press.
believe that our membership will continue to help the process of economic
reforms,” he told journalists, adding that diversification was Astana’s “top
priority” and that the WTO membership can only enhance these efforts.
country’s Minister for Economic Integration, Zhanar Aitzhanova, who led the
accession talks in recent years, told reporters in Geneva that Astana had
agreed to “continue to undertake full liberalisation reforms.” Crucially, this
will apply to the telecommunications sector, where previous caps on foreign
investment are to be abolished, the AFP highlighted.
international partners, the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström,
was among the early commentators to welcome the news.
has worked hard to prepare for the WTO membership and to make the changes
needed in its domestic legal and regulatory system. The EU has strongly and
continuously supported Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO and the country’s
determination in its commitment to open trade and investment has been rewarded
today,” she commented.
legislators will now need to review and ratify the documents agreed in Geneva
by 31 October 2015, the WTO press release said.