WTO formally accepts Kazakhstan as new member

GMT 16:19 2015 Monday ,27 July

Arab Today, arab today WTO formally accepts Kazakhstan as new member

Russia's Progress M-28M cargo ship
Geneva - AFP

The World Trade Organization on Monday formally accepted Kazakhstan's bid to join the body, ending nearly two decades of negotiations that the WTO has called among the most challenging in its history.

Meeting at its headquarters in Geneva, the WTO General Council approved the membership terms finalised last month.

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has led the resource-rich nation for the past quarter century, was on hand to witness the formal acceptance.

Nazarbayev has hailed the "new horizons" that WTO membership will offer for central Asia's largest economy, but analysts have warned the step may be little more than a public relations boon for the government in the short-term.

Kazakhstan has agreed to lower import tariffs and take further strides to become a more attractive place for foreign investors

But the country's industrial and agricultural output remain relatively weak amid the excessive reliance on oil revenue.

Experts say domestic firms may struggle if the market is flooded with foreign goods once the WTO terms are implemented.

Kazakhstan began WTO accession talks in 1996, but negotiations were repeatedly stalled, in part because of Kazakhstan's membership in the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union.

Once the formal signing and ratification process is complete, Kazakhstan will become the WTO's 162nd member state. 

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