The Republic of Azerbaijan and World Trade Organization (WTO)

  Chronology:

Submission of the application expressing the will of the Republic of Azerbaijan to be a member of the WTO to the WTO Secretariat

23.06.1997

Establishment of the Working Group on Azerbaijan at the WTO Secretariat

16.07.1997

Submission of the memorandum on foreign trade regime of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WTO Secretariat

22.04.1999

Setting up Interorganizational Coordination Group on accelerating membership process of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WTO

19.11.1999

Holding the First Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

3-7 June 2002

Forming a Commission on preparatory works concerning the membership of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WTO

22.08.2003

Holding the Second Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

14.10.2004

Holding the Third Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

30.06.2005

Holding the Fourth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

30.03.2006

Holding the Fifth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

06.05.2008

Holding the Sixth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

11.12.2008

Holding the Seventh Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

24.07.2009

Holding the Eighth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

18.10.2010

Holding the Ninth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

24.02.2012

Holding the Tenth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

07.12.2012

Holding the Eleventh Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva

21.02.2014

The First Session: 07.06.2002. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

With holding of the First Session of the WTO Working Group on Azerbaijan, a new phase of membership process of our Republic to the WTO started.
The First Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan was attended by the representatives of 28 WTO members in Geneva and devoted to the discussion of the memorandum on foreign trade regime and the replies given to the questions of the WTO members. The member countries expressed their readiness to render every help to Azerbaijan in the works done in the field of membership. Provision of technical and institutional assistance to Azerbaijan by Turkey, European Union, and the United States of America were of special importance. The representatives of Canada, Australia, European Union, as well as the United States of America posed a lot of questions. Bilateral meetings were held with the representatives of 9 WTO members-Australia, the USA, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, the European Union, Sweden, Canada and Turkey.

 

The Second Session: 12-15 October 2004. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

The documents submitted by Azerbaijan were discussed at this session. Meetings were held with the S.Panitchpakti, the Director-General of the WTO, Arif Huseyn, Head of the Accession Division of the WTO Secretariat, W.Lewalter, the Chairman of the WTO Working Group on Azerbaijan, as well as the Permanent Representatives of Turkey and Pakistan to the WTO, including the experts of WTO Secretariat.

 

The Third Session: 27 June 27 – 1 July 2005. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

During this session, Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev, the Head of the WTO Accession Negotiation Team on the membership of Azerbaijan to the WTO gave general information about the submitted documents and the overall economic situation of the country. Replies were given to the questions of the Working Group members (USA, European Union, Australia, Japan, Canada and etc).
Also, plurilateral meeting on agriculture (USA, Australia, Canada, Malaysia) and bilateral meetings with the USA, the European Union and Canada were held.
Meetings were held with the representatives of Moldova, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, as well as with the UNCTAD experts.

 

The Fourth Session: 30 March 2006. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

During the visit, the WTO Accession Negotiation Team took part at the session of the Working Group, held meetings on agriculture and bilateral negotiations with the USA, European Union, Turkey, Chinese Taipei, Canada and Japan.

 

The Fifth Session: 6 May 2008. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

During this session the relevant documents (revised offers on goods and services, about 30 drafts of legal acts prepared with the purpose of bringing national legislation into conformity with WTO requirements, ad valorem equivalence of specific duties, etc.) were presented. At the end of the meeting, decision was made on preparation of Factual Summary on Azerbaijan.

 

The Sixth Session: 11 December 2008. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

The Head of the WTO Accession Negotiation Team of the Republic of Azerbaijan stated that, Azerbaijani Government attaches significance to the development of non-oil sector and diversification of economy. He has also informed the participants of the meeting about the reforms conducted in this field. It was noted that, as a landlocked developing country, Azerbaijan aims to integrate into the multilateral trading system under favourable conditions in order to ensure sustainable socio-economic development of country. Hence, revised offers on goods and services and other necessary documents were submitted to the WTO Secretariat. On the basis of the submitted documents, several bilateral meetings were held. Besides, WTO members were informed about measures on bringing the national legislation into the conformity with WTO requirements and the discussions were held on the Factual Summary prepared by WTO Secretariat. Participants of the meeting supported membership of Azerbaijan and appreciated the implemented measures and their results. Brazil, India and Paraguay declared their support on the membership of Azerbaijan to WTO as a landlocked developing country.

 

The Seventh Session: 24 July 2009. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. Egypt, Turkey, Paraguay, Brazil, China, Pakistan, Jordan supported Azerbaijan’s accession under favourable terms and praised steps by Azerbaijan in this direction. Although, during the plurilateral negotiation on agriculture, the USA and EU stressed their position about Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO with a status of developed country, Azerbaijani side stated that it would be inconsistent with the national and economic concerns and insisted on acceding as a developing country. During the meeting, the WTO members agreed to submit new and follow-up questions on Azerbaijan’s foreign trade regime to the WTO Secretariat.

 

The Eight Session: 18 October 2010. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. Participants were informed on several documents prepared and submitted to the WTO Secretariat, including justification on “developing country status”, status of legislative reforms, as well as revised offers in goods and services. Representatives of different members (Turkey, USA, EU, Canada, India, Pakistan, Norway, Japan) supported Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO under favourable terms and appreciated activities of Azerbaijan in this regard. During the meeting, the additional questions of members have been answered.

 

The Ninth Session: 24 February 2012. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

The 9th Meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on February 20-24, 2012. At the 9th meeting of the Working Party, held on 24th February, the Head of the Azerbaijani delegation and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. He said that Azerbaijan faced the challenge of high dependence on the oil and gas sector. Therefore, diversifying the economy was a priority of the Government in order to foster the socio-economic development of its regions. During the meeting, WTO members requested more information on Azerbaijan’s pricing policies, state trading enterprises, investment regime, competition policy, trading rights, tariff rate quotas, export duties and restrictions, export subsidies, agricultural policy, trade remedies, free trade zones, intellectual property, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and government procurement. The questions were replied by the Azerbaijani representatives. Besides, bilateral meeting was held with Mr. W.Lewalter, the Chairperson of the Working Party.

 

The Tenth Session: 7 December 2012. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

During the meeting, the Head of the Azerbaijani delegation and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev mentioned that Azerbaijan faces the challenge of high dependence on the oil and gas sector. Therefore, diversifying the economy is a priority of the Government to foster the social and economic development. He noted that Azerbaijan had signed a bilateral agreement with the Kyrgyz Republic and had recently concluded bilateral negotiations with China. The representatives of China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States expressed their support on Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO. During the meeting, following trade related issues were discussed: elimination of export ban, harmonization of excise tax, elimination of export subsidies in agriculture, clarifications on fees and charges for services rendered, legislation in technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, etc. Mr. W.Lewalter, the Chairperson of the Working Party, concluded the meeting by noting that the discussions had been useful. He encouraged the delegation of Azerbaijan to continue negotiations with the WTO members in a proactive manner.

The Eleventh Session: 17-21 February, 2014. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.

The 11th meeting of Working Party on Accession of Azerbaijan to WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on February 17-21, 2014. On 18-21 February bilateral negotiations were conducted with the representatives of USA, EU, Japan, Canada, Norway, Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei on goods and services and with Brazil, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Ecuador on goods. Negotiating countries requested Azerbaijan to reduce offered bound tariff rates in some agricultural and industrial goods, joining to sectoral initiatives on Paper and Civil Aviation, introduced interested high priority tariff lines. In services negotiations current applied quota on hiring of foreign specialist in mode 4 (movement of natural persons), also liberalization of energy-related, transport, construction, education services and access to oil and gas pipelines were discussed. During the following round of multilateral negotiations on Agriculture held on 20th February Azerbaijani Domestic Support Table in Agriculture representing 2010-2012 fiscal years, subsidies in agriculture sector were discussed with the representatives of different WTO Members. At the end of the meeting it was decided that Azerbaijan would submit Domestic Support Table representing 2011-2013 fiscal years to the Members. The 11th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan was held on 21 February, 2014. During the meeting the head of the Azerbaijani delegation and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev spoke about the latest bilateral market access negotiations on goods and services, legislative developments, the latest documents submitted to WTO Secretariat (Legislative Action Plan, TBT and SPS Checklists, General Offers on Goods and Services) and reaffirmed Azerbaijani commitment to bring its trade regime into conformity with WTO rules. Representatives from the United States, China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey, Tajikistan, South Korea, Canada and others expressed their support for Azerbaijan’s early accession to WTO. During the meeting, WTO members revised Azerbaijan’s trade regime on the basis of the Draft Working Party Report and asked some clarifications on following trade related issues: tax exemptions, investment incentives, operation of foreign-owned enterprises, privatizations, technical barriers to trade, subsidies, transit and intellectual property, etc. The Chairperson of the Working Party, Mr. Walter Lewalter concluded the meeting by saying that discussions had been useful. Next steps will be submitting of questions by WTO Members to Azerbaijani side.

Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister visited Geneva on 30 June – 4 July 2014 and during his visit met with the WTO Director-General, his deputy, as well as Mr. Ralf Peters, the UNCTAD expert. Moreover, in the framework of the WTO accession process, bilateral meetings were held with China, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Canada, Malaysia, Honduras, USA, Norway, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

 
 
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