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  July 28th, 2015 | Written by

WTO Approves Kazakhstan’s Membership

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  • WTO director: “The benefits of accession help to create jobs, raise incomes, and improve people’s lives.”
  • Kazakhstan president: We do business with 185 countries around the world.
  • Kazakhstan president: “For a long time we have been shaping our economic policies in the spirit of the WTO.”

The World Trade Organization formally adopted Kazakhstan’s WTO terms of entry at the organization’s General Council meeting yesterday. Kazakhstan has until the end of October to ratify the deal to formally become a WTO member.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan signed the Protocol on the Accession of Kazakhstan following the General Council’s approval of the country’s WTO terms of entry.

“I think this is a truly historic occasion for Kazakhstan, and for the WTO,” said Azevêdo. “In approving Kazakhstan’s accession protocol we are concluding almost two decades of negotiations. Moreover, we are delivering a result which will have a major economic impact, a major systemic impact, and a major human impact. Because, crucially, the benefits of accession can help to create jobs, raise incomes, and improve people’s lives.”

“Together, we have done quite an impressive job,” said Nazarbayev. “We are sincerely grateful to each of the WTO Member States for their constructive approach and support throughout a very tough negotiation process. During the negotiations of our accession to the WTO, the configuration of Kazakhstan’s economy has changed dramatically. Today, we are doing business with 185 states of the world.”

Over the past years, Kazakhstan has become incrasingly integrated into the global economy, noted Nazarbayev. “We have proceeded to implement ambitious institutional reforms,” he added. “They include further development of international economic cooperation. Effective implementation of the reforms will help to shape a brand new institutional environment. Kazakhstan will soon start working under the WTO rules. 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.”

U.S. exporters sold $1.1 billion in goods to Kazakhstan in 2013, according to numbers supplied by the U.S. Trade Representative. Top exports included machinery, aircraft, vehicles, and railway locomotive parts. U.S. agricultural exports to Kazakhstan totaled $80 million in 2013, most of that poultry. The U.S. imported $1.4 billion in goods from Kazakhstan in 2013. U.S.-Kazakhstan trade has been growing by more than 20 percent annually in recent years.