World Trade Organization (WTO)
WTO was created in 1995. The organization Headquarter locates in Geneva. As the youngest international organization WTO is a follower of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that founded in 1947. Currently, 164 countries of the world are members of WTO. Moreover, 20 country and some international organizations have observer status in WTO. WTO accounts for more 98% of world trade.
WTO regulates trade relations among countries on the basis of multilateral trade agreements. Multilateral trade agreements comprise the normative juridical base of organization. These agreements regulate goods and services trade, intellectual property, survey of trade policy and solution of problematic issues.
The main principal of WTO is to liberalize international trade maximally and create the strong basis that lead to improve economic development and wellbeing of population.
The main duty of organization is to regulate trade-economic relations among member states based on Agreements Packet formulated by the result of Uruguay round negotiations on multilateral trade (1986-1994).
- Control on acceptance of multilateral trade agreements and implementation of accepted agreements that comprise juridical basis of WTO
- Organizing trade negotiations among countries
- Monitoring national trade policies
- Cooperation with other international organizations
- Assisting solution of trade disputes among member states
- Collecting, learning and presenting information on international trade and trade policy
Ministerial Conference is the highest authority. The countries meet at least once every two years to make decisions on principal issues and discuss problems related to Uruguay Round Agreements through ministerial conference, whose membership consists of all WTO members. The Ministerial Conference has responsibility to appoint General Secretary, create corresponding committees, and accept new members to organization and various responsibilities of the multilateral trade agreements.
Secretariat is an executive body of organization. Director General Roberto Azevedo (Brazil) leads the Secretariat from September 2013 who appointed by Ministerial Conference. The main duty of organization is to provide technical assistance to developing countries, various councils committees and analyse the world trade.
Moreover, the Council for Trade in Goods (Goods Council), the Council for Trade in Services (Services Council), the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council) function.
WTO's agreements are discussed among all members, accepted by consensus rule and have to be ratified.
Azerbaijan and WTO
The appeal reflecting Azerbaijan's accession to WTO was submitted to the WTO Secretariat on June 23, 1997.
Multilateral negotiations as one of the most important issues for accelerating the process of Azerbaijan's accession to WTO are continued.
The 1st meeting of Working Party on Azerbaijan established on July 16, 1997 was held in WTO Secretariat in Geneva in 2002. The meetings of Working Party are held consistently since 2004. It was first time that two meetings of Working Party were held during 2008.
Thus, 5th and 6th meeting of Working Party were organized in Geneva on May 6 and December 11 of 2008, appropriately. At the end of 5th meeting decision was adopted on preparing of 1st generalized documents-Factual Summary. The document prepared by the WTO Secretariat was presented to Azerbaijan. The proposals and comments on the document were stated by the relevant bodies. Factual Summary was discussed at the 6th meeting of the Working Group. The latest version of document was distributed to the Group members for comment and was discussed at the 10th meeting.
The 10th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan on 7 December 2012 was the second WP meeting in 2012 (the 9th meeting took place in 24 February). The latest, 13th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan was held on 22 July, 2016. During the meeting the head of the Azerbaijani delegation and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev spoke about the latest socio-economic indicators of Azerbaijan Republic. During the meeting, replies by Azerbaijan given to members' questions after 12th 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.
Next steps will be submitting of questions and comments by WTO Members to Azerbaijani side.
Azerbaijan Republic bilaterally negotiates with 21 countries (U.S., EU, Canada, Japan, Norway, Russian Federation, Brazil, South Korea, Ecuador, Chinese Taipei, Sri-Lanka, India, Switzerland, Honduras, Indonesia, Malaysia, Republic of Dominican, Saudi Arabia, China, Viet Nam, Paraguay) on accession process to WTO. During the negotiations are discussed the issues on market access of Azerbaijani goods and services, necessary measures are taken to protect important areas.
The first bilateral protocol on accession of Azerbaijan to WTO was signed with Turkey in 2007, with Oman and UAE in 2008 and with Georgia in 2010. The latest bilateral protocol was signed with Kyrgyz Republic on March 30, 2012. As a result the number of bilateral protocols on conclusion of bilateral negotiations in the framework of accession of Azerbaijan to WTO has reached to five. It should be noted that, the interest of Azerbaijan Republic were completely secured in all signed bilateral protocols.
On the basis of bilateral appeals the analysis is regularly carried out in the field of goods and services.
The latest bilateral negotiations were conducted in 20-22 July, 2016 in Geneva, with the representatives of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia on goods and services.
Bringing the national legislation into conformity with WTO requirements
39 normative legal acts were considered in the "Action Plan" approved by the 2 August 2006 signed No 1583 decree of the President of Azerbaijan. In Compliance with document drafts, laws on "Plant Quarantine" and "Plant Protection" lost force and 18 normative-legal acts out of 37 were adopted and entered into force.
Currently, projects of 10 documents were prepared and agreed with relevant authorities, including, Law Project on "Technical regulation" was submitted to the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Republic. Moreover, preparation of 10 projects are under consideration.
"Activity of commission on preparation of Azerbaijan's accession to WTO"
The commission on preparation work of Azerbaijan's accession to WTO was created by the 22 August 2003 dated order of Ministers Cabinet of Azerbaijan Republic to accelerate accession process to WTO. The new structure of the commission on preparation work of Azerbaijan's accession to WTO was approved by order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic dated July 7, 2009 numbered 160. The structure of commission consists of deputy ministers of relevant ministries, leaders of state committees and agencies.
The head of the commission is the minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Shahin Mustafayev. Deputy heads of the commission are deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Makhmud Mammad-Guliyev and deputy minister of Justice Togrul Musayev.
11 meetings of the Commission were held till now. The last meeting was held on February 5, 2010.
To enlighten the society
Taking into account the importance of informing and enlightening of community about accession procedures to WTO some measures were taken on this course.
By the participation of representatives of Ministry of Economic Development and various government agencies were organized roundtable events dedicated to accession to WTO and in cooperation with the "USAID Technical Assistance Project" 6 booklets were published about WTO within the framework of publications series of affiliation to WTO and distributed to universities, libraries, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations.
Moreover, www.wto.az website was created and guaranteed constantly placing of the most necessary information in this site. GATS enquiry point were created and legislation base related to this was placed at the wto.az website
In addition to this, TBT (Technical Barriers in Trade) Enquiry Point was established under the State Committee on Standardization, Metrology and Patents of Azerbaijan Republic.
Ministry of Economic Development and US International Development Agency (USAID) organized seminars for regions' entrepreneurs regarding "Azerbaijan's accession to the World Trade Organization and private sector" within the framework of "Azerbaijan Trade and Competence" Program of USAID in Shaki and Lerik in June-July of 2011 and in Gabala, Gakh and Masalli in May-June of 2012.
The "Azerbaijan and WTO" competition was held among young researchers in 2007 and among journalists in 2008.