Turkmenistan officially set up a new state commission on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) as declared by Deputy Chairman of Cabinet of Ministers, Annamukhammet Gochiev, at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on 24 January 2013 in Ashgabat. The commission was directed by a presidential decree to review issues associated with accession to membership and to conduct all related work.
The decision to pursue full membership of the WTO was informed by goals to ensure safe and efficient integration of Turkmenistan into the global economic system, increased competitiveness of the country’s industries, and the establishment of market relations based on laws and in accordance with international standards.
Deputy Chairman Gochiev outlined the tasks of the commission, including to
- study WTO agreements and rules,
- analyze the impact of WTO accession on various sectors and spheres of the national economy,
- prepare proposals, and
- participate in WTO-led forums.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov put the emphasis on: the need to improve trade, financial, and investment laws; currency exchange rate regulation; the formation of a mechanism for letting markets determine the price of goods and services; the elimination of trade and customs barriers; personnel training; and in general, a policy conversion toward the development of free market relations.
WTO has 158 full member states, which account for around 95% of world trade. Another roughly 30 countries are negotiating for membership.
Member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program that are full WTO members include the People’s Republic of China (in 2001), the Kyrgyz Republic (in 1998), Mongolia (in 1997), and Pakistan (in 1995).Tajikistan received approval to accede in 2012, and will become a full member this year. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan have acquired observer status.
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