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BAKU, February 05 /ITAR-TASS/. Azerbaijan will join the World Trade Organization (WTO) when it ensures proper protection of its domestic market, President Ilham Aliyev said on February 5.
“We have not jet joined the World Trade Organization despite the fact that they are inviting us there insistently,” he said at a conference dedicated to the implementation of state programmes of socio-economic development of the country’s regions. “We have good reasons for that. First of all, we want to protect domestic manufacturers, the Azerbaijani market. First, we must create conditions for our farmers and companies. If we open our market, it will be freely flooded by foreign-made low-quality, cheap products, which will kill domestic production and inflict losses to farmers. That is why we are not doing this.”
At the same time, Aliyev noted that in the long run Azerbaijan plans to join the World Trade Organization. “We know when it is going to happen. We will become a member of the World Trade Organization, when both the agricultural and industrial sectors turn out mostly export-oriented products,” he said, adding that the top priority of the country’s agrarian policy was to enhance domestic production, to reduce dependence on imported products and to increase production of export-oriented goods.
The Azerbaijani president stressed that the country’s food security must be 100% ensured by domestic production.