World Trade Organization (WTO)

Accession process

Multilateral negotiations

Multilateral negotiations, being the one of the most important points in acceleration of accession process of Azerbaijan to the World Trade Organization WTO are ongoing. The first session of the Working Party on Azerbaijan was held in 2002 in Geneva. The Working Party sessions have been held consecutively since 2004.

The latest 14th Meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan took place on 28 July 2017. Consolidated version of replies on questions from EU and US was submitted to the WTO Secretariat for circulation. The Chief Negotiator, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev informed WP Members at the meeting that, with the fall in oil prices, Azerbaijan saw an opportunity to diversify the economy and develop non-oil sectors. "Logistics and trade" have been identified as one of priority sectors for economic development. Azerbaijan also reported on the adoption of a new law on trade remedies.

Currently Azerbaijan is considering questions and comments received from US, EU, Norway and Turkey submitted after the meeting.

Plurilateral negotiations

At the same time Azerbaijan conducts plurilateral meetings on Agriculture regularly. The latest plurilateral meeting on Agriculture was organized on 27 July 2017.

Necessary documents, including consolidated version of replies on questions received from US and the Russian Federation on Agricultural domestic support, as well as revised Supporting Tables for 2014-2016 were prepared and submitted to the WTO Secretariat for circulation.

Currently, Azerbaijan in the process of answering questions from US on trade policy and domestic support in agriculture.

Bilateral negotiations

Bilateral negotiations process is on-going. Currently, Azerbaijan is conducting bilateral negotiations on goods and services with 21 Member countries: USA, EU, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, India, Chinese Taipei, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia (on the basis of nota submitted), China and Vietnam (market economy issue), Paraguay (on the basis of verbal request).

As a result of the negotiations 5 bilateral agreements were signed. The first agreement was signed with Turkey and others with Oman, UAE, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.

Azerbaijan has submitted to US, EU and Norway revised offers on goods and services, to Russia- offer on goods, as well as revised offers on goods to Switzerland, Brazil, Thailand and Ecuador. The latest round of bilateral negotiations was held on 24-26 July 2017 with EU, US, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, India, and Switzerland.

Bringing the national legislation into conformity with WTO requirements

For the purpose of bringing the national legislation into conformity with WTO requirements a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan No. 1583 of 2 August 2006 was signed and in compliance with this document drafts of more than 30 legislative acts were planned to prepare. About 20 of these normative-legal acts were adopted and entered into force.

 

Chronology of the accession process

First Session: 7 June 2002, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

With holding the First Session of the WTO Working Group on Azerbaijan, a new phase of membership process to the WTO started.

The First Session of the Working Group was attended by the representatives of 28 WTO members in Geneva and devoted to the discussion of the memorandum on foreign trade regime and the replies given to the questions of the WTO members. The member countries expressed their readiness to render every help to Azerbaijan in the works done in the field of membership. Provision of technical and institutional assistance to Azerbaijan by Turkey, the European Union, and the United States of America were of special importance. The representatives of Canada, Australia, the European Union, as well as the United States of America posed a lot of questions. Bilateral meetings were held with the representatives of 9 WTO members-Australia, USA, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, the European Union, Sweden, Canada and Turkey.

Second Session: 12-15 October 2004, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

The documents submitted by Azerbaijan were discussed at this session. Meetings were held with Mr. S.Panitchpakti, Director-General of the WTO, Mr. Arif Huseyn, Head of the Accession Division of the WTO Secretariat, Mr. Walter Lewalter, Chairman of the WTO Working Group on Azerbaijan, as well as the Permanent Representatives of Turkey and Pakistan to the WTO, including experts of the WTO Secretariat.

Third Session: 27 June 27 – 1 July 2005, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

During this session, Chief Negotiator, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev provided general information about the submitted documents and the overall economic situation in the country. Replies were given to the questions of the Working Group members (USA, European Union, Australia, Japan, Canada and etc).

Also, plurilateral meeting on agriculture (USA, Australia, Canada, Malaysia) and bilateral meetings with the USA, the European Union and Canada were held.

Meetings were held with the representatives of Moldova, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, as well as with the UNCTAD experts.

Fourth Session: 30 March 2006, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

During the visit, the WTO Accession Negotiation Team took part at the session of the Working Group, held meetings on agriculture and bilateral negotiations with the USA, European Union, Turkey, Chinese Taipei, Canada and Japan.

Fifth Session: 6 May 2008, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

During this session the relevant documents (revised offers on goods and services, about 30 drafts of legal acts prepared with the purpose of bringing national legislation into conformity with WTO requirements, ad valorem equivalence of specific duties, etc.) were presented. At the end of the meeting, decision was made on preparation of Factual Summary on Azerbaijan.

Sixth Session: 11 December 2008, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

The Head of the WTO Accession Negotiation Team Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev stated that the Government of Azerbaijan attaches significance to the development of non-oil sector and diversification of economy. He has also informed the participants of the meeting about the reforms conducted in this field. It was noted that, as a landlocked developing country, Azerbaijan aims to integrate into the multilateral trading system under favourable conditions in order to ensure sustainable socio-economic development of country. Hence, revised offers on goods and services and other necessary documents were submitted to the WTO Secretariat. On the basis of the submitted documents, several bilateral meetings were held. Besides, WTO members were informed about measures on bringing the national legislation into the conformity with WTO requirements and the discussions were held on the Factual Summary prepared by WTO Secretariat. Participants of the meeting supported membership of Azerbaijan and appreciated the implemented measures and their results. Brazil, India and Paraguay declared their support on the membership of Azerbaijan to WTO as a landlocked developing country.

Seventh Session: 24 July 2009, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

Chief Negotiator, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. Egypt, Turkey, Paraguay, Brazil, China, Pakistan, Jordan supported Azerbaijan’s accession under favourable terms and praised steps by Azerbaijan in this direction. Although, during the plurilateral negotiation on agriculture, the USA and EU stressed their position about Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO with a status of developed country, Azerbaijani side stated that it would be inconsistent with the national and economic concerns and insisted on acceding as a developing country. During the meeting, the WTO members agreed to submit new and follow-up questions on Azerbaijan’s foreign trade regime to the WTO Secretariat.

Eight Session: 18 October 2010, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

Chief Negotiator, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. Participants were informed on several documents prepared and submitted to the WTO Secretariat, including justification on “developing country status”, status of legislative reforms, as well as revised offers in goods and services. Representatives of different members (Turkey, USA, EU, Canada, India, Pakistan, Norway, Japan) supported Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO under favourable terms and appreciated activities of Azerbaijan in this regard. During the meeting, the additional questions of members have been answered.

Ninth Session: 24 February 2012, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

The 9th Meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on 20-24 February 2012.

At the 9th meeting of the Working Party, held on 24 February, Head of the Azerbaijani delegation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. He said that Azerbaijan faced the challenge of high dependence on the oil and gas sector. Therefore, diversifying the economy was a priority of the Government in order to foster the socio-economic development of its regions. During the meeting, WTO members requested more information on Azerbaijan’s pricing policies, state trading enterprises, investment regime, competition policy, trading rights, tariff rate quotas, export duties and restrictions, export subsidies, agricultural policy, trade remedies, free trade zones, intellectual property, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and government procurement. The questions were replied by the Azerbaijani representatives. Besides, bilateral meeting was held with Mr. Walter Lewalter, Chairperson of the Working Party.

Tenth Session: 7 December 2012, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

During the meeting, Head of the Azerbaijani delegation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr.  Mammad-Guliyev mentioned in his speech that Azerbaijan faces the challenge of high dependence on the oil and gas sector. Therefore, diversifying the economy is a priority of the Government to foster the social and economic development. He noted that Azerbaijan had signed a bilateral agreement with the Kyrgyz Republic and had recently concluded bilateral negotiations with China. The representatives of China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States expressed their support on Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO. During the meeting, following trade related issues were discussed: elimination of export ban, harmonization of excise tax, elimination of export subsidies in agriculture, clarifications on fees and charges for services rendered, legislation in technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, etc. Mr. Walter Lewalter, Chairperson of the Working Party, concluded the meeting by noting that the discussions had been useful. He encouraged the delegation of Azerbaijan to continue negotiations with the WTO members in a proactive manner.

Eleventh Session: 17-21 February 2014, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

The 11th meeting of the Working Party on Accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on 17-21 February 2014.

Bilateral negotiations were conducted with the representatives of USA, EU, Japan, Canada, Norway, Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei on goods and services and with Brazil, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Ecuador on goods. Negotiating countries requested Azerbaijan to reduce offered bound tariff rates in some agricultural and industrial goods, joining to sectoral initiatives on Paper and Civil Aviation, introduced interested high priority tariff lines. In services negotiations current applied quota on hiring of foreign specialist in mode 4 (movement of natural persons), also liberalization of energy-related, transport, construction, education services and access to oil and gas pipelines were discussed. During the following round of multilateral negotiations on Agriculture held on 20 February Azerbaijani Domestic Support Table in Agriculture representing 2010-2012 fiscal years, subsidies in agriculture sector were discussed with the representatives of different WTO Members. At the end of the meeting it was decided that Azerbaijan would submit Domestic Support Table representing 2011-2013 fiscal years to the Members.

The 11th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan was held on 21 February 2014. During the meeting the Head of the Azerbaijani delegation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev spoke about the latest bilateral market access negotiations on goods and services, legislative developments, the latest documents submitted to WTO Secretariat (Legislative Action Plan, TBT and SPS Checklists, General Offers on Goods and Services) and reaffirmed Azerbaijani commitment to bring its trade regime into conformity with WTO rules. Representatives from the United States, China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey, Tajikistan, South Korea, Canada and others expressed their support for Azerbaijan’s early accession to WTO. During the meeting, WTO members revised Azerbaijan’s trade regime on the basis of the Draft Working Party Report and asked some clarifications on following trade related issues: tax exemptions, investment incentives, operation of foreign-owned enterprises, privatizations, technical barriers to trade, subsidies, transit and intellectual property, etc. The Chairperson of the Working Party, Mr. Walter Lewalter concluded the meeting by saying that discussions had been useful. Next steps will be submitting of questions by WTO Members to Azerbaijani side.

On 30 June – 4 July 2014 Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Geneva and during his visit met with the WTO Director-General, his deputy, as well as Mr. Ralf Peters, the UNCTAD expert. Moreover, in the framework of the WTO accession process, bilateral meetings were held with China, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Canada, Malaysia, Honduras, USA, Norway, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Twelfth session: 3-6 March 2015, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

The 12th meeting of the Working Party on Accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on 3-6 March 2015.
Bilateral negotiations were conducted with the representatives of USA, Norway, Switzerland and Japan on goods and services. The latest offers of Azerbaijan introduced to negotiating countries were discussed during the meetings.

During the following round of multilateral negotiations on Agriculture held on 5 March subsidies, concessions in agriculture sector that Azerbaijan aims to gain after accession were discussed with the representatives of different WTO Members.

The 12th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan was held on 6 March 2015. During the meeting the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev spoke about the latest socio-economic indicators of Azerbaijan.

During the meeting, replies by Azerbaijan given to members’ questions after 11th meeting of the Working Party were discussed. WTO members revised Azerbaijan’s trade regime on the basis of the Draft Working Party Report and asked some clarifications on trade related issues.

Thirteenth session: 20-22 July 2016, WTO Secretariat, Geneva

The 13th meeting of the Working Party on Accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on 20-22 July 2016.

Bilateral negotiations were conducted with the representatives of the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia on goods and services. The latest offers of Azerbaijan introduced to negotiating countries were discussed during the meetings.

During the following round of multilateral negotiations on Agriculture held on 21 July. For the meeting necessary document, including consolidated version of replies on questions received from Ukraine and the Russian Federation on domestic support, as well as Supporting Tables on the basis of 2013-2015 were prepared and submitted to the Secretariat. The revised Supporting Table was discussed in the meeting.

The 13th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan was held on 22 July 2016. Chief Negotiator, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev informed WP Members that, with the fall in oil prices, Azerbaijan saw an opportunity to diversify the economy and develop non-oil sectors. "Logistics and trade" had been identified as one of priority sectors for economic development. Azerbaijan also reported on the adoption of a new law on trade remedies.

Members raised questions on various aspects of Azerbaijan's foreign trade regime on the basis of the latest revision of the draft Report of the Working Party. They had also encouraged Azerbaijan to accelerate bilateral market access negotiations and had invited Azerbaijan to provide improved offers.

 
                                                                                                                       Updated: 16.01.2018