• English

UNECE supports Kazakhstan in implementation of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

UNECE, together with UNCTAD and the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, has launched a project to support the Kazakh Government in assessing its readiness to implement the various measures in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), identify gaps, and prepare its response.

Experts gathered in Astana on 8-9 October 2015 for the opening seminar within this project. Some experts claim that approximately 90% of the measures in the WTO TFA are already included in national legislation, and Kazakhstan can declare readiness to implement the agreement. However, after a review of all measures, the participants in the seminar concluded that the actual implementation and the development of the necessary procedures are lagging behind, and that Kazakhstan would put itself in a difficult position if it were to declare itself ready to implement most or all of the TFA measures.

Kazakhstan finalized its negotiations to join the WTO on 27 July 2015. Now it has to make the final step by 31 October: ratify a package of WTO documents which, in compliance with the final negotiations, includes the TFA. Kazakh officials are still considering whether to declare readiness on all measures by the date of entry into force of the Agreement (when two thirds of WTO members ratify it), or whether to notify the WTO secretariat that only a portion of these measures will be implemented by that date, and the rest will need more time or even international assistance.

Through the project, UNECE and UNCTAD will support the Government of Kazakhstan in assessing the implementation readiness of Kazakhstan for each measure contained in the Agreement, preparing notifications to the WTO on the readiness, and developing plans for practical implementation.

The seminar also highlighted that applying some of the trade facilitation measures depends upon legal acts, procedures and policies to be adopted on the level of the Eurasian Economic Union and, in those cases, Kazakhstan would need to wait for action by the Eurasian Economic Commission.

As requested by the Government, the survey of regulatory agencies and the business community and the draft assessment report, supported by UNECE, UNCTAD and GIZ, should be finalized by the end of the year, in order to fit into the broader planning of Kazakhstan for follow-up on its accession to WTO. A validation seminar for the report findings is planned to take place in Astana in December 2015, with the participation of all relevant stakeholders in Kazakhstan.

Following the validation seminar, the findings of the assessment will be presented to the Government, as input to its policy decisions, preparations of notifications and development of action plans.

The seminar was organized by UNECE, the German agency for technical cooperation GIZ, and the Center for Trade Policy Development of the Ministry of the National Economy.

This project is a UNECE contribution to Target 10 under Sustainable Goal 17: promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization.

For more information:

Mario Apostolov, Regional Adviser, UNECE Trade

tel.: +41 22 9171134, e-mail: mario.apostolov@unece.org