After two decades of negotiations to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), Kazakhstan was finally approved to join the international trade body on Monday.
WTO members formally adopted Kazakhstan’s WTO terms of entry at the General Council meeting, where Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed the country’s protocol of accession with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo.
The northern Central Asian nation is expected to officially become the 162nd member of the WTO by the end of the year, once all the procedural formalities have been dealt with.
Kazakhstan will have until October 31 to ratify the deal to formally become a WTO member 30 days after it notifies the ratification to the WTO Director-General.
“I think this is a truly historic occasion for Kazakhstan, and for the WTO. In approving Kazakhstan’s accession protocol we are concluding almost two decades of negotiations. Moreover, we are delivering a result which will have a major economic impact, a major systemic impact, and a major human impact. Because, crucially, the benefits of accession can help to create jobs, raise incomes, and improve people’s lives,” WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said.
“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. And it is a message to the world that Kazakhstan is open for business. Kazakhstan’s accession adds an important voice to our discussions here. It brings the organization closer to the heart of Central Asia. And it brings us closer to our goal of universal membership,” the WTO Director General said.
“Over the past years, we have come a long way to integrate Kazakhstan’s economy into the global market. We have proceeded to implement 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. Kazakhstan will soon start working under the WTO rules. Yet for a long time now, we have been shaping our economic policies in the spirit of the WTO, by removing barriers, acting as an engine of regional integration and promoting the principles of open collaboration,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
The WTO is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. It provides producers of goods and services, exporters and importers with a framework for negotiating trade agreements and settling disputes.