UNECE and partners help Azerbaijan prepare for the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
Azerbaijan is still in the process of negotiating its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force on 22 February 2017, would thus be included in the package of obligations for the country upon accession. In order to help it define the best way forward, the Government requested UNECE, in collaboration with UNCTAD, to prepare an assessment of its readiness to implement the WTO TFA.
The issue was at the centre of discussions at an opening seminar organized jointly by UNECE and UNCTAD, the Ministry of Economy and GIZ from 29-30 March.
Arguably, Azerbaijan can continue requesting flexibilities as a “developing country” in negotiating the terms of accession to the WTO with partners. Consequently, the seminar recommended that the assessment present a categorization of the 36 measures contained in the WTO TFA into:
(a) Measures that are ready;
(b) Measures that need further work, but can be implemented by Azerbaijan alone;
(c) Measures for which more time and international assistance would be needed.
The assessment report should be ready in early July, allowing for validation by stakeholders before the next meeting of the Working Party on Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO.
It is expected that the Government of Azerbaijan will use the report and its recommendations regarding possible categorization of the measures and notifications to the WTO Secretariat in its accession negotiations, as well as in the preparation of its action plans for implementation.
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