ASTANA, January 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The president of Kazakhstan has asked the European Union to help complete negotiations on his country’s aspired membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the presidential press service said on Friday.
The issue of Kazakhstan’s joining the WTO was discussed on Friday at a meeting of President Nursultan Nazarbayev with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as the World Economic Forum convened in Davos, Switzerland.
“The president of Kazakhstan assured that it [WTO membership] will serve as an extra guarantee for European investors and will provide for the further improvement of investment and business climate in the country under conditions of global competitiveness,” the press service statement said.
Meeting with Barroso
During talks with Barroso, Nazarbayev said that his country’s trade with the European Union stood at $50 billion and that the partners were working on an extended cooperation agreement.
“If it is possible, we need to speed up the signing of this agreement,” the statement quoted Nazarbayev as saying at the meeting.
Kazakhstan, which together with Russia and Belarus is a member of the Moscow-led Customs Union, officially announced its intention to join the WTO in 1996 and received the status of observer in the global trade body later that year.
Besides the issue of WTO accession, Nazarbayev also discussed with Barroso ways of cooperation between the Customs Union and EU as well as expressing his country’s interest in introducing a visa-free regime between Kazakhstan and EU members.
“The president said that as being solely an economic formation, the Customs Union yields considerable profits to all of its participants,” the statement added.