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ASTANA, February 16. /TASS/. Kazakhstan is expected this year to sign an agreement on partnership with the European Union and join the World Trade Organization (WTO), the country’s foreign minister told the lower house of parliament on Monday.
"Last year, the talks were concluded with the European Union on a new agreement on enhanced partnership and Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO. We hope that this year both these processes will be completed," Erlan Idrisov said.
The foreign minister reminded that the EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement was initialed in Brussels on January 20, 2015. The deal is due to facilitate political and economic ties between Kazakhstan and the EU and increase the flow of trade, services and investment between the parties.
"After a complex bureaucratic procedure of coordination in the framework of 28 member-states of the EU, we will manage to sign this agreement and start particularly working on it," he said.
According to the diplomat, the Central Asian state has similar hopes in regard to joining the 160-member WTO international organisation, adding that Kazakhstan has been consistently working in this direction.
"The WTO has not only an economic, but mainly political significance. This is a balancer of global economic relations. Through the WTO we will get access to a broad system of world trade, its standards, norms and rules," he said.
Kazakhstan first submitted its application for the WTO membership back in 1996. The process was delayed in the late 1990s amid the economic crisis and slow reforms and resumed in the early 2000s.