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WTO Approves Accession of Kazakhstan, Looks to Add Liberia by Year End

Friday, July 31, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

World Trade Organization members formally adopted Kazakhstan’s terms of entry July 27 after nearly 20 years of what WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo called “very challenging” negotiations. Kazakhstan will now have until Oct. 31 to ratify the deal and will become the WTO’s 162nd member 30 days after it notifies its ratification to the WTO.

“Kazakhstan will soon start working under the WTO rules,” said President Nursultan Nazarbayev. “Yet for a long time now, we have been shaping our economic policies in the spirit of the WTO, by removing barriers, acting as an engine of regional integration and promoting the principles of open collaboration.” Nazarbayev added that his country hopes joining the WTO will encourage foreign investment.

Separately, the WTO said recently that the accession of Liberia is on schedule to be concluded by the WTO’s Dec. 15-18 ministerial conference in Kenya. Considerable technical work has been undertaken since May, including the finalization of all bilateral agreements with Canada, Taiwan, the European Union, Japan, Thailand and the United States. Working party members have advanced their examination of Liberia's trade regime to the “end-game stage” and have significantly narrowed the outstanding issues regarding the draft working party report.

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