Tajiks prepare for next step in WTO membership talks
ITC’s efforts to help Tajikistan implement domestic reforms in order to become a full member of the World Trade Organization are moving ahead steadily.
On 21-23 may, ITC staff co-hosted a series of training events and meetings in Dushanbe as part of the Trade Cooperation Programme, which is funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and was launched in early 2012. The programme will run until 2014.
At a two-day training event participants were guided on how to deal with accession negotiations for services. They were briefed on the main GATS principles, how to prepare a services-schedule for accession, experiences of other acceded countries and implications of specific commitments. How Ukraine negotiated its services commitments for WTO accession was used as an example of good practice.
The sessions also focused on how to improve infrastructure services, which is an essential element for creating the necessary environment for competitive exports. The training was followed by a public-private dialogue at which government officials briefed representatives from the private sector on the status of Tajikistan’s services negotiations.
During the visit to Dushanbe, ITC staff held several meetings with Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. These meetings also included participants from the European Commission, SECO and representatives from the private sector that work on WTO-related issues.
While the political commitments made by Tajikistan have enabled WTO accession negotiations to move forward, there are still difficulties ahead concerning bilateral agreements. With the US, for example, there are problems related to both goods and services. There are also pending issues with Canada (goods), the European Commission (services), Japan (services), South Korea (goods) and Sri Lanka (goods).
The Trade Cooperation Programme (TCP), which is funded by SECO, was launched in early 2012 and will run for a three-year period. The TCP is an integrated approach and involves four components:
• Component one: Policy advice and capacity building;
• Component two: Implementation of WTO provisions and business awareness of WTO accession;
• Component three: Capacity building in the field of intellectual property rights (TRIPS);
• Component four: Academic and know-how transfer related to WTO provisions.