ITC to assist Tajikistan in WTO accession process
ITC will assist the business sector and the government in Tajikistan during the country’s negotiations for membership of the World Trade Organization, according to a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two sides last week. The USD 1 million assistance project is financed by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and comes on the heels on several ITC projects aimed at increasing the export competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises in the food processing and clothing sectors.
ITC provides assistance to least-developed countries (LDCs) and land locked developing states (LLDCs) like Tajikistan that are working towards integration into the multilateral trading system.
A major focus of this support is to bring the private sector into the WTO negotiation process, to ensure that its interests are represented and, to improve the capacity of SPS and TBT bodies and their regulatory infrastructure by implementing WTO procedures.
ITC has run similar projects in Ethiopia, Yemen, Laos, as well as Samoa and Vanuatu over the last ten years. In Samoa, which joined the WTO in December 2011, ITC held dedicated sessions with public and private sector players, providing them with the opportunity to discuss WTO accession related commitments, and their business implications, in an open and transparent manner, addressing specific concerns and clarifying misunderstandings. The WTO’s General Council in December recognized ITC’s contribution to the accession process.
“ITC has a track record in assisting accession countries pursue an inclusive approach in the preparation of WTO membership and we are excited to bring our methodology into Central Asia for the first time,” said Friedrich von Kirchbach, ITC’s Director of Country Programmes.
WTO membership provides LDCs and LLDCs favored-nation status in all of the WTO’s member countries, an assurance that their businesses will be able to compete on an equal footing with their international competitors. This is an important step in export diversification.
The project will begin in March and is expected to last 30 months. It will allow ITC to continue work with the business sector in improving the quality and efficiency of SMEs in selected sectors. For more information on this project, see this blog.
Left to right: Sharif Rahimzoda, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Republic of Tajikistan. Patricia Francis, Executive Director, ITC. H.E.Dr.Luzius Wasescha, Ambassador, SECO & Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the WTO.