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Russia to cooperate with Kazakhstan within WTO — ministry

July 27, 2015, 21:16 UTC+3 GENEVA
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© ITAR-TASS/Dmitry Astakhov

GENEVA, July 27. /TASS/. Russia counts on cooperation with Kazakhstan within the World Trade Organization /WTO/, the head of the Russian Economic Development Ministry's trade negotiations department Maxim Medvedkov told TASS on Monday.

"We’ve expected this to happen for many years. This is the result of many years of talks, pending with Russia’s direct participation in recent 6 years. We joined them even before Russia’s accession to the WTO. Surely we helped our colleagues solve important issues," he said.

Medvedkov also said the signing of the protocol by Kazakhstan "is a big plus for the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union." "This is the next step towards forming its international legal standing. As soon as Belarus finishes its accession to the WTO - hopefully this happens in the nearest future - the union will be eligible for becoming member of the organization," he said.

"This is also favorable for our bilateral relations as we’ll use the WTO agreement in the sectors not regulated by the agreement on economic union," he added. "This will contribute to stability and prospects for further development of our trade" as the countries "will be cooperating within the WTO," Medvedkov said. "We have something to discuss and improve cooperation both regarding regular agenda and the Doha round as we have much of common interest," he added.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Director-General of the World Trade Organization Roberto Azevedo signed a protocol on the country’s accession to the organization at a session of the WTO’s General Council, the organization’s highest-level decision-making body in Geneva on Monday. Nazarbayev said the Kazakh economy has seen major structural changes since talks on its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) began almost 20 years ago. The Kazakh economy "has become stronger and more open" since negotiations began, he said. WTO member countries at the present account for more than 90% of the country's foreign trade. "In the mid-1990s, Kazakhstan had ties only with post-Soviet states, while now we are trading with 185 countries of the world," President added. Countries of the European Union are its main economic partners, accounting for more than 54% of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade, he said, noting also a "sizable contribution" of trade with Russia, China, the United States, Canada and some other countries. Roberto Azevedo expressed hope that Kazakhstan will take part in the 10th Ministerial Conference, which will be held by the trade body in Nairobi /Kenya/ from 15 to 18 December 2015, as its member-state. "Hopefully we will be able to confirm Kazakhstan’s membership at the conference in Nairobi as it will become the 162nd member of the organization. Unless it happens earlier," he said.

Minister of Economic Integration Zhanar Aitzhanova said this timeframe is "realistic" as "there are 2 months left for ratification within the country" after the protocol of Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO is signed. "We’ve already done big job with both houses of our parliament and we’re to finish the ratification process by October 31," she told TASS. After that the document signed by the head of the state will be submitted to the WTO Secretariat. The decision on Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO will come into force automatically after 30 days pass from the moment when the trade organization receives ratification confirmation. "Conference in Nairobi is our goal. We should do everything by the forum. We’ve got a time schedule, which starts from the Nairobi conference," Aitzhanova said.

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