State Trading Enterprises in the World Trade Organization

5 October 2020
ITC News

Workshops explore State Trading Enterprises (STEs) rules to help build Uzbekistan’s capacity for the WTO accession negotiations.

State Trading Enterprise policies are an integral part of the regulatory environment set by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The STEs have the potential to influence markets significantly. They can be operated in ways that can create distortions to international trade.  STEs-related policies are therefore increasingly important in the context of WTO accession negotiations.

In collaboration with the WTO Secretariat, two  workshops were organized this month for Uzbekistan's Government officials representing  the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade (MIFT), the State Assets Management Agency, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction and  the Antimonopoly Committee.

Participants were introduced to the main WTO rules and principles of STEs activities, as well as the main guiding documents on STEs. Definitions and types of enterprises to be classified as STE were explained in detail. The training included the general framework that covers compliance with four main principles which are non-discrimination, prohibition of quantitative restrictions on imports/exports, preservation of the value of tariff concessions, and transparency.

General exceptions related to government procurement were explained to the participants. The trainers clarified, that while STEs are not prohibited by the WTO, the WTO rules and undertaken commitments regarding the STEs during the accession process must be observed.

WTO requirements related to the STEs notification, which are relevant to the WTO accession process were also looked at during the training.

The workshops will help fill the gaps with understanding the rules on STEs and provide impetus to bilateral and multilateral talks.

The International Trade Centre organized this training through the "Facilitating the Process of Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO" project. It is a five-year initiative funded by the European Union (EU) that aims to support Uzbekistan's development plans to modernize its economy through leveraging the process of the country`s accession to the organization.