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Press Releases, 7/28/2015

Finland piloted Kazakhstan to WTO membership

Press release 179/2015
28 July 2015

Kazakhstan's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was brought to a conclusion on 27 July 2015.  Finland held the chairmanship of Kazakhstan's WTO accession process during its entire twenty-year history.

"The process was difficult and complicated in the final stages due to, for example, Kazakhstan's membership of the Eurasian Economic Union. The end result was, however, assessed excellent. Customs duties, for example, were set at a low level," says Counsellor Vesa Himanen who served as chairman of Kazakhstan's WTO accession talks for eight years. "The process is significant as with the achieved accession the WTO's multilateral trade system was expanded to a new import region. The accession also removes barriers to trade," says Himanen.

During WTO accession talks, the applicant country negotiates with the WTO member countries on ways of implementing the existing WTO trade agreement and commits itself to liberalisation of trade and reduction of various supports. The accession talks are conducted with all WTO members.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka considers Kazakhstan's accession important to Finland. "The accession improves the potential of economic cooperation between Finland and Kazakhstan. This falls perfectly within the State's remit aimed at benefiting businesses by trade liberalisation and it serves as an example of practical level Team Finland work. Finland's input in the process was concrete and this has improved our visibility in Kazakhstan," Toivakka says.

Trade between Finland and Kazakhstan is showing an upward trend. Especially imports from Kazakhstan are growing fast. With the accession, the rules of the WTO are now in force which clarifies and facilitates trade. "The tied customs duties also improve predictability," says Himanen.

Almost all important actors in the global economy make part of the multilateral trade system. Kazakhstan is the WTO's 162th member. Accession negotiations are underway with, for example, Algeria, Liberia and Belarus.

Inquiries: Vesa Himanen, Counsellor, tel. +358 50 342 8467, Johanna Lukkarila, Counsellor, tel. +358 50 411 5402

This document

Updated 7/28/2015

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