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Tajikistan Inches Towards WTO Membership

By Shahodat Saibnazarova






Tajikistan is continuing to negotiate entry to the World Trade Organisation, WTO, although finalising terms will take some time yet, and some experts that lifting all protectionist barriers will make things worse, not better.

The country applied for membership in 2001, but the process is a lengthy one requiring agreements to be concluded with various member-states.

Two of Tajikistan’s neighbours, Kyrgyzstan and China, are already members of the global grouping, but other Central Asian states and Russia are not. In fact, Russia and Kazakstan, together with Belarus, have formed a customs union of their own.

Tajik deputy foreign minister Nizomiddin Zohidov says he expects “serious progress” on WTO accession in 2012, and does not envisage major obstacles.

Some analysts see accession as the route to free trade, greater investment and prosperity. Others, like Parviz Mullojonov, argue that local producers will crumple under the weight of unchecked foreign imports – they are just not geared up to respond to competition from advanced economies with excess goods to unload. That will leave Tajikistan unable to move on from being a raw materials producer and exporter.

The audio programme, in Russian, went out on national radio stations in Tajikistan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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